Fresh Thinking, Inspiration, and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation
I would like to describe a ceiling for humanity, a ceiling that we may have faced in our own life, and a ceiling which this body of people that we call Emissaries of Divine Light has faced. We could name it in various ways. I would name it this morning simply as the experience of separation from God.
At the heart of this experience is the experience of selfhood. I’d like to read something from AS OF A TRUMPET. This book by Martin Exeter speaks about selfhood. He says this:
“You are divine. You are not the conglomerate self-made self. However you are also human which fact makes it possible for your divine Self to be experienced and made known on earth. Inherently in you are all the essences of your divinely individual character. You are the potential of the divine revelation of your-Self on earth. When you are your true Self on earth, God is in action on earth because of you.”
When you know a reality as being yourself, is there anything else left? You could learn and change and grow at many levels of your experience. You could build yourself physically, you could build yourself mentally, and you could build your feeling capacity. At the center of all that is the experience of selfhood. You can’t locate the self physically in the body. Yet it is at the core of all we experience. If your experience of who you are has changed, is there anything left? When we talk about a change in the sense of self, we’re talking about something that goes all the way through to the very core of who and what we are.
At first blush the invitation to experience ourselves as divine sounds wonderful. But there is a huge implication to that, which is that the former sense of self has to pass away for divine identity to be known. That process is a process of total transformation so that we know ourselves as being divine. So ultimately, the process by which the separation of God is healed has to involve the experience of selfhood for it to be complete.
Over lunch recently, someone asked me this question: “If we as human beings are not separate from God, how can we speak about God in separate terms? How can we speak about worshipping God or drawing close to God? How can we speak about a relationship to God if that is who we are?”
As I see it, there are two answers to the question. The first one is that the human and the divine are aspects of one thing. But it’s not as if it’s all one homogenous soup. There is a range to who we are that is divine, and there is definitely a range to us that is human, and that is just as it should be. There are unique experiences at all levels of that continuum between our humanity and our divinity.
The other answer is that humanity experiences itself as separate from God, even though that is not the truth. Humanity at large has that experience, and I bet you and I do, from time to time at least. And if we do, if we are feeling very human and not so divine, it doesn’t help very much to be pretending that that is not true. There is something to be transformed in that experience, and it won’t be transformed as long as spiritual people walk around pretending that they’re experiencing the divine all the time.
To use a religious word, there is something to be redeemed from the human experience, and there is a process by which it is redeemed. There’s a process from God’s standpoint, you can be sure. The process is powered by the expression of the Holy Spirit that emanates from God and holds this whole world, including our humanity. But there’s action necessary from our humanity as well. The redeeming and transforming power of faith as an active expression of our humanity connects us to the invisible.
The expression of blessing is another action which connects us. The act of blessing aligns us with the spirit of the divine. Do you have an attitude of blessing toward your humanity? What happens when fear arises, or some other very human emotion? A person may pretend that they’re not feeling it. That approach may work after a fashion, for a while, but usually that approach eventually ceases to work and the person is forced into a recognition that they are having a very human experience, which seems disconnected from anything divine.
What is your attitude or mine when we discover part of our humanity that experiences itself as separate from God? There are two possibilities: one is that a person has an attitude of blessing. If that is a person’s attitude, they experience the redemptive power of blessing. The other is an attitude of cursing—“Curse this humanity that has shown up in my experience! Curse this fear; curse this darkness—it shouldn’t be here.”
If you experience an aspect of your own unknowingness—a pattern of thought and feeling that seems disconnected from God—I have a suggestion. Take the attitude that “God made me this way.” And I want to explain what I mean by that. It is not that God made me to feel separate or to feel fearful, or feel any of the other very human things that people feel, disconnected from God. But clearly, you and I are made with the possibility of those experiences. Is that not true? Not that the intent was that we should have all kinds of terrible experiences, but we were made with the possibility that we could. We must have been. And do you think that it might be true that if we were made with the possibility of feeling all those very human things, that there might have been a reason in God’s mind to create you and me that way, with that possibility? Or is this all just some dreadful mistake?
We find it easy to bring the attitude of blessing when we see that the design of our being that allows the possibility that we could experience our humanity as separate is the same design that allows the possibility of something else. At the heart of that design is freedom and choice and, with that, consciousness.
So I’ll suggest an alternative to make it clear what I’m speaking about. How would it be if you and I were made in such a way that we couldn’t make a mistake? To not be able to make a mistake implies you have no choice; in some way you have no freedom. In such a case you would be hardwired for something. We’re not made like that. We are a much more delicate instrument than that. Your emotional capacity and mine is much more delicate than that. Your consciousness and mine is much more delicate. So we are talking about a delicate instrument here with a huge capacity. And why? We were built for freedom—freedom of consciousness, freedom of choice, freedom of expression. It has to do with God, or divine self, being able to be itself through you and through me.
Reading on from AS OF A TRUMPET, Martin says this: “You are divine. This is the truth for you, but it remains meaningless on earth until you know it. ‘Knowing’ is the state of realized experience, and this occurs as your divine nature is given expression in thought, word and deed.”
Here is the supreme opportunity for any person: the knowledge of the divine self. Martin is also pointing to the ceiling that people bump up against, which is a lack of knowing. The ceiling manifests in a person who is on a spiritual path when they are following that path in a well-intended way and in many ways doing the best they can on that path. They are acting with earnestness and a spirit of service, probably doing their best to follow all the teachings that they have received along the way, and they hit this ceiling. Looking down and examining their own heart and examining their own experience, the person says, “Oh my god, look at all this humanity, all this unredeemed experience, all this unspiritual experience.” Most often, having hit the ceiling established by their own unknowingness, the person bumps off that ceiling.
There are two bad choices that a person in that position has. One is to go into flights of fancy about spiritual experience; to make up imaginary stories about spiritual things. The other bad choice is to believe that the divine possibility that was sensed was all a dream, and what really needs to happen is for the person to go ever more deeply into his or her human experience.
I’m suggesting a way through, which is in the expression of blessing. In that attitude, we may give thanks for our humanity—not pretending it isn’t there but seeing the unknowingness. That is a very powerful place to be. There is very little power in pretending that one’s own unknowingness is not present. We come into our power when we see our unknowingness for what it is and bring a spirit of blessing.
I’d like to read some other words of Martin’s. These are words of power from a talk he gave entitled “One God, One Identity: I Am.” He spoke these words on July 19, 1987, in the last year of his life.
“I am incarnate in the earth, in all the animate forms of the earth, and in my human form. My human form was created so that I might be consciously incarnate. Being consciously incarnate, I may be unrestricted in the expression of myself and in the fulfillment of my purposes according to my will. My human form was created that this might be so. For it to be so, my human form had to be free to let it be so. It might be said that built into the human form is this inherent freedom, that I might be free in the human form to do my will.”
God bless the human form and the great potential that is within it. Will we have authority in our human experience with anything other than an attitude of blessing? I don’t think so. We cannot twist our own arm behind our back to make ourselves be divine, nor could we do that for anyone else.
Let what has been a ceiling be the floor for our new experience. Let there be a breakthrough. I could not say those words loud enough, so I won’t try. Let there be a breakthrough. Let the experience of failure in hitting the ceiling of unknowingness be dissipated by a body of people today, by you and by me. It is a familiar habit to walk up to the ceiling and bounce off it. I’ve told you two great ways to do that, if you want to do it: Go off into spiritual imagination, or get lost in your humanity.
There is leadership needed in the world today—real leadership that goes past that ceiling and creates something new vibrationally that has not been on earth in a body of people. So let’s do it ourselves. And if we do it ourselves, let’s tell our friends, not so much in words but in the quality of experience we share with them.
Martin talked about expression. It takes expression to know, something positive coming through us that breaks through the ceiling. It can’t be done thinking about it the old way, because try as you will, if you’re not being conscious and you don’t have conscious understanding about what you’re doing, trying hard doesn’t get you there. So there has to be conscious understanding of what’s being done. And there has to be the conscious, positive expression of love and blessing and power through us, so that the veil between the human experience and the divine is blown to smithereens.
Does that sound like something worth doing in your own experience? It is in mine. That sounds to me like something worth devoting a life to. So let’s blow that veil to smithereens in our experience, not in theory but in actual practice, in actual experience, personally and with other people. Is it hard sometimes? Yes. If it gets hard, that’s because you’re hitting the ceiling. If things seem tough, it may be indication that you are touching that veil of separation. Celebrate! “Oh good, I’m doing the work, my work, the work of this incarnation.”