The prophet Ezekiel had a vision of a wheel in the middle of a wheel. I won’t speculate on what that meant to him. But it is a vision of a principle at work throughout all Creation. There are small cycles of time held within larger cycles. Smaller spheres are held within larger ones—the microscopic world is held within the sphere of life that we know individually, and our lives are held within our community, culture, nation, and the world.
Our solar system demonstrates this principle of a wheel within a wheel. The Sun is the hub of the solar system. Planets, asteroids, comets, and interplanetary dust revolve around the Sun, and relative to them, it does not move. The Sun is not chasing after the planets, and it is not revolving around them. When the solstice comes around in a little over a month, we are not worried that the Sun will be in a different place relative to the Earth. Relative to us, the Sun is stationary.
That is how it was taught to me in grammar school. We had a mechanical model of the solar system. As I learned later, it was way out of proportion, with the distances involved greatly understated relative to the size of the heavenly bodies. But it had gears that allowed the Earth to move around a stable Sun.
But wait… There’s more!
The Sun and our entire solar system are part of the Milky Way Galaxy. We orbit around the Galactic Center of the Milky Way, a black hole named Sagittarius A*. The Sun moves at a speed of 500 thousand miles per hour in its orbit, and it takes about 250 million years for the Sun to orbit around the Galactic Center.
So, what is really happening is that the planets, including our own Planet Earth, are spiraling through space as they orbit around the Sun, which is on its own orbit around the hub of the Galaxy.
A wheel in the middle of a wheel… Wheels within wheels…
Such is the nature of reality at all levels. What does this tell us about our own function in the dynamics of a human life?
If it is true that our life consists of wheels within wheels, then we are a hub for a circle of life that orbits around us, and we are a spoke on a larger wheel orbiting around the center of that larger wheel. The further implication is that we have to be unmoved with respect to some things, just as the Sun is unmoved by the planets. And we have to be responsive to the hub of a larger field and orbit around it.
Consider the factors involved in being the hub for the wheel for which you are responsible. It takes courage to be that hub.
Sometimes, there is courage in leaving. You are called to be someplace, to go do something, and it might take courage to go and do it. It might not be healthy for you to be there. And it might take courage to leave that unhealthy situation.
Yes, it can take courage to leave. But it can also be an act of courage to stay. This is the courage not to move and to bring the presence of who you are into your world exactly as it is. This is the courage to be like the Sun, which holds a stable gravitational field for the solar system.
To be a hub for their immediate world, a person has to learn not to move. They have to reverse the human tendency to escape the immediate circumstance and transform the urge to leave into the power to stay.
Recently, as I was thinking about the world around me, I was prompted to reflect on a message I received from Martin Cecil during the years I knew him. He never said this to me in so many words, so this is not a quote of what he said. But still, it was what I understood from all he did say and from who he was and how he chose to live his life.
The first part of the message is this:
Do what is yours to do.
This makes a lot of sense to me, and it is totally relevant to my situation.
The next part of the message was less obvious, yet even more significant:
Know what you know.
That’s different from Do what I tell you to do, or Follow my advice.
Then there is a third admonition:
Open yourself to know what you must know.
This message is essential for being the hub of your immediate world. Put together, it goes like this:
Open yourself to know what you must know.
Know what you know.
Do what is yours to do.
Those lessons are imperative for a person to be a hub for their world.
There are so many messages that we get in our culture that tell us to do this, that, and the other thing, and that sets somebody else up as the expert on what we are supposed to do. We might follow along without much conviction, which is understandable.
The truth is we are here to be fully present and fully empowered where we are. If we are chasing after things in our life, we are not that hub that we need to be, and we can’t be found because we’re not in place as ourselves. If we’re willing to be in place as ourselves, we can be found. We become reliable—reliably ourselves and unmoving in that sense. And yet, just like the Sun, we are on a larger adventure in life, moving through the galaxy. We are a wheel within a wheel, both a hub for our immediate world and a spoke in the larger wheel of life.
How do we learn how to do this in life? What I observe is that people view these dynamics in a personalized way. They see it from a very localized awareness of self, thinking I am this spoke. I am this part of the wheel.
If a person sees themselves as a spoke on the wheel of whatever field they’re in, they may object to people whom they see as the hub. Who do they think they are, anyway? Or, as it is unkindly put, Who died and left you in charge?
And then it’s easy to object to the spoke next to you. We’re all so different. We’re diverse in outer ways, like size and shape, color of skin, and ethnic background. Those are the obvious ways we are different. But we are unique in even more profound ways. People think differently than you. The way their feelings run is different. They see the world differently. They respond differently. It’s so easy, seemingly, to lack understanding of the next spoke over in the wheel.
These principles are relevant for anybody anywhere. It applies to people in Israel and Gaza; that’s plain to see. And it is for anybody else on the planet. These principles are of particular interest to us with what we are undertaking. How do we bring a significant spiritual influence to the world as a spiritual community if we can’t participate in the wheel of life together—if we can’t be a wheel of life together? And we can’t do that if we live our life in objection to others who we see as separate and disconnected from ourselves.
We begin to see more than a localized perspective of life when we realize that the wheel in which we participate is in us—we are the wheel. Yes, we play our respective role as a spoke of the wheel. But at the same time, the whole wheel lives in us. Our future is linked to the future of the wheel.
This is true for the citizen of any nation. The future of the nation contains the future of the individual. And it is true for every human being—the future of humankind contains the future of each of us.
I think strategically about these things related to Sunrise Ranch and Emissaries of Divine Light. I wonder, How do we get people to buy into the idea that they’re participating in something bigger than themselves and that their fulfillment as an individual is tied to our collective fulfillment?
When a person assumes responsibility for being a hub for their own immediate world, it assists them to see the whole wheel of life in any field in which they participate. It may look like they are only a spoke on that larger wheel. But they begin to take responsibility not only for their own part to play but for the collective field. On that basis, they are less apt to judge others and the part they are playing. They begin to accept circumstances exactly as they are and make optimal use of them.
Are those circumstances ideal? Are they for you? Often, they are not. Or at least they are not what you might have thought would be ideal. Most people went past what might have been ideal a long time ago. And you could argue that humankind is not operating under ideal circumstances. The point is that while your circumstances may not be ideal, they are perfect. They are the perfect opportunity for you to know what you know, and do what is yours to do. They are a perfect opportunity to use the circumstance as it is for the optimal future.
What makes a circumstance perfect? You and me. We declare it’s perfect—a perfect opportunity for us to be fully present in the courage of who we are, a perfect opportunity for us to create.
We have a perfect opportunity to do something together that none of us can do alone. And what we can do together is the fulfillment of each of us. So, I have a lot at stake in how you are doing. I have a lot at stake in doing this together. And therefore, I am approaching my own individual part of all this from that perspective. It doesn’t mean I don’t have an individual part—I do. But the way I carry out my part is with the whole in mind, making my contribution so that the whole thrives.
I am a wheel in the middle of a wheel. I revolve around the hub of a larger field, and I am a hub for my world. How about you?