Fresh Thinking, Inspiration, and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation
We are here to give glory to God. That may seem to be a well-worn phrase. It is true, nonetheless, that we are here to give glory to something that’s invisible, that can’t become visible or audible without us. It becomes present through our physical presence, through our mental presence, but most importantly through the quality of tone and vibration that comes through us.
I wonder if we could take some time this morning to ponder in our own hearts what our own greatest values are. I would put to you that whether or not you use quite these words to describe it for yourself, that for any of us, the highest value is to give glory to God. Any other value that you think about is greatly incomplete aside from that. There are many things that are part of the fulfillment of what has the highest value, that are part of giving glory to God. But, by themselves, they may be a step along the way at best.
What do we mean when we think about God’s fulfillment? What do we mean when we talk about giving glory to God? With you, I would like to take a very large view of what that means. Without that large perspective and understanding, mostly at a heart level, a person will end up living an unfulfilled life. So as you ponder it in your heart, what would constitute fulfillment for you? What would it take for you to be truly fulfilled?
Would some kind of personal accomplishment be fulfilling for you, perhaps your own individual accomplishment or an accomplishment with others? Accomplishment is a wonderful thing—I love it! I revel in what is accomplished by me or by other people. But in the end, if you lived a life that was only of personal accomplishment, how far short would that fall of what would mean true fulfillment? You could point to something and say, “I did that.” How long would that thing that you created last on that basis? Would it bring enduring fulfillment?
An easy subject to pick on is money. Money is useful. Like most of us, I’d rather have it than not. Does the picture of dying rich mean much to you? I’ll name one other value: retribution, which is a slightly more polite way of saying “revenge.” Is the experience of taking it out on people who didn’t do what you think they should have done, or who have done something ill toward you, bring fulfillment? Obviously it doesn’t, and someplace in people’s hearts those attitudes may be present. Somewhere it was said, “Living well is the best revenge.” But if you are living well just for that, that’s a fairly limited way to live, isn’t it?
I could go on, naming all the things for which people live their lives. I invite you to explore in your own heart what is true for you. I want to suggest what I believe is the only thing that brings fulfillment. I’ve used the words “giving glory to God” to describe that. But I want to talk about the breadth of what that is, what it would really mean to give glory to God in the highest and to the fullest.
I want to start that consideration by talking in the negative. Do you think you could really feel content and fulfilled in your heart as long as there was some kind of mass starvation going on in this planet, as there is today? Do you think you would feel truly settled and resolved, knowing that there was an abuse of this planet by the human race, as there is today? As I have surveyed those things for myself, my answer is no. That leads me to see that true fulfillment isn’t only personal, that our fulfillment is necessarily tied up with the destiny of this planet and of the human race.
That could lead to a sense of helplessness. It could lead a person to think, “Oh, what can I do?” So let’s set that aside for a moment and consider in a little bit what we can do. But how about coming to terms with what may seem like a hard thing to come to terms with, which is the largeness of why we’re here, the largeness of what fulfillment really means? You might think it would be easier if we could narrow it down to some of these simpler things. If I could narrow fulfillment down to this thing that I’m going to accomplish, if I could narrow it down to me and mine, that would be so much simpler. But real fulfillment has to take into account this larger picture.
So what is that larger fulfillment of giving glory to God? To begin to answer that question, I want to read from chapter 55 in the Book of Isaiah. There are verses here that I think give a depiction of what fulfillment is about for you and for me.
“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
“For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:10-12)
“And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” What a depiction! What poetry, you might say, the picture of this very human act that we tend to think no other creature, and certainly no other plant, could do. The trees clapping their hands—what was the author trying to say here? “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing.” And before that: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void.”
Our “Word” has something to do with bringing vibration and energy. Contained in these verses is a depiction of the earth in a state of singing with the Divine Self in expression in the midst of it.
I trust that you who are working in the farm project here at Sunrise particularly, and all the rest of us as well, are having the experience that we are on a living planet. And when I use the word “living,” I mean to say more than that it’s not moribund. There is a living being here. There is an expression of selfhood. We are here as human beings, male and female, to bring a focused awareness of the selfhood of Planet Earth, a focused awareness of the joy of manifestation, not just for ourselves but for all of being. That joy of being alive is present in all of being at some level. But it comes to focus in you and me in a special way. It is the expression of that joy of manifestation that is our fulfillment.
When you think of the very special role that human beings play on this planet, and the very special nature of this planet—we know of none like it in the universe—when we consider the tremendous impact that human beings have on this planet in a way that no other species does; when we consider the spiritual qualities, the energetic qualities, the qualities of consciousness that are present in you and I as human beings and in all people, how could it be anything less than the fulfillment of all that, that would bring the ultimate happiness and fulfillment for you and for me? How could you have this setup, the way it is, and be happy in a way that somehow ignored that design?
We’ve used a word to sum up the attempt to be happy aside from the design of Planet Earth and the design of our own being as a part of that: “self-centeredness.” How could there be happiness on the basis of a sense of self that didn’t have much to do with the selfhood that’s at the heart of this planet, Earth? So I think we have to reject that out of hand.
So here we are in this large picture with the potential of untold, glorious fulfillment. Who knows what will become fulfilled in our lifetime? Are we destined to live an unfulfilled life because we live in the world the way it is? No. There’s something to work out physically in what I’m describing. But how does the physicality of all that work out? It works out on the basis of consciousness. The most important component that we as human beings are here to provide is consciousness. Most importantly, that is what is unique about us—our ability as human beings to bring consciousness and, with that, the ability to express spirit into this world. So that’s the key component that we’re bringing, and the key component to the planetary outworking.
The fulfillment of our life, individually and with other people, is in letting the dynamics in consciousness and mind and heart work out in us on a creative basis, so that the seed of what can happen in the larger body of mankind, for starters, and with the earth itself, can happen. Because there is no way that the larger picture will transform creatively in our experience if the seed of what’s to happen in the larger picture isn’t cared for and nourished by us as individuals.
What we begin to see is that that seed of experience is everything. The personal experience of giving glory to God in the highest, for each of us, is everything. However it comes out, however we do it, giving our finest, playing our sweetest note, living in our finest understanding, is everything. Our word is everything. And when I say that, I mean to include our spoken words and our written words, but I also mean to include far more than that. The vibration and tone that comes through mind and heart is everything. Our fulfillment and the fulfillment of our world hang on that. That is the hope not only for humanity but for Planet Earth.
In order to let this be real, a person must forsake any other value that stands in the way of this. There are all kinds of other wonderful values. But if any of those values, for us personally, stand in the way of giving our highest and our finest, look them square in the eye: It isn’t worth it. For someone who seeks the highest value, all the other values that play a part in that come along. But they’ve got no place to come along to if the highest value is not honored. Those lesser values, when they become our ultimate gods, take us into a sense of who we are that is not true.
It’s said that the human body is a temple, but of course it’s not just the body, is it? It’s the body and it’s the mind and, most importantly, the heart. In that way, we are living flesh temples. So what are we temples to? In honor of what? In worship of what? To accommodate what? What is the highest value? Ultimately, it is divine identity. It is universal divine selfhood.
Self-centeredness, in all its forms, brings with it a sense of self based in that centering. Earlier on, from Isaiah, it says:
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:7-9)
Here is a message to self-centered consciousness, saying that we are meant to be a temple to the highest identity, divine identity. When the tone and reality of that comes through, we are fulfilling why we are here. We are bringing, in seed form, the fulfillment of humanity and the fulfillment of this planet.
“And let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
As we let our hearts be a temple for divine identity, we know a quality of blessing that brings mercy. Often people feel that there is something vengeful and unforgiving about life, or about God. When a person returns the temple of their heart and mind to the Most High, there is an experience of a clean slate. There is an experience of forgiveness, for yourself and for everyone else, in that place. There is an experience of blessing for oneself, and a blessing that flows to the people around you.
Here is transformation. We may learn to bring ourselves to the experience of being a temple for the Most High. And if we come into that experience, we provide the opportunity for others to be in that place because it’s made abundantly evident by us.