The easiest way to go through life is to be excellent, successful and victorious. It’s easier to be masterful than to be lazy. For one thing, if you aren’t masterful in something, it comes back to bite you in the rear, does it not?
Mastery in the practical matters that arise every day opens the door to something else. Because the things that are in form that are around us are actually touchstones for a larger reality that’s behind them.
Jane Anetrini and I hosted a wine tasting last night at the Sunrise Ranch Dance Macabre farm-to-table dinner. It was lovely to be in the warm October air in a tent at the base of the Rimrock in our valley. As I glanced across the table to the person who I served a glass of wine, I saw their face, and saw what they looked like. They were a human being, in some way like every other human being. But behind them was a vast reality of Being. There was a huge creative spirit; a past that I may know nothing about, in many cases; all kinds of experience that they were bringing to that moment when I was serving them that glass of wine. I had the opportunity to witness as much of that as was possible in a few short moments of wine tasting. It seems funny to say, but who they were and are in an outer sense is a symbol of an inner reality. All of form is like that.
Put in the largest terms, who we are as human beings is a symbol of God. When you meet somebody, they are that. They stand for God, whether they know it or not. Whether they act like it or not. They are a bookmark in the book of life, and by opening the book at that bookmark you come into a dimension of the reality of God.
If you’re not careful and attentive to the outer form of how you’re being with the people you meet, you’re left with the outer form of the interaction. In my experience last night, perhaps their comment was, “I didn’t like the wine you served me.” Or, “You didn’t get me a chair.” We might hope that however we treat the people around us, they will still be open with us, or that things will go well. But not so, really, in the practical living of life. It requires our mastery to open up the book.
The mastery to be attained is not only in handling the practical. It is in creating an interchange with the outer forms of your life that engages the deeper reality that the form symbolizes.
Put in general terms, people are a symbol of God. If you don’t know that, you might try to connect with God, as you might think of God, while ignoring the symbols of God, which are the people around you. And then hope to have a spiritual experience. Good luck!
The people around you are a symbol of the Divine. They’re a book to be opened. You have to be masterful not only in the practical ways that you interchange with them but masterful in opening that book.
If the people that you meet every day are a symbol of God, this world is a symbol of heaven. If we are not excellent in this world and responsible in handling it in the highest way possible, it doesn’t seem like heaven. All the practical things come back to haunt us. At a global level, it could be global warming. At a global level it can be war, terrorism, hunger and environmental degradation. It might not seem like heaven, mostly because we as human beings are not acting like God.
There’s not too much we can do about the macro reality immediately. We can’t wave a magic wand and change all human beings. We can’t make the world as it is heaven. But we can be a symbol of God. We can treat the world around us as a symbol of heaven, and we can create that amongst ourselves—amongst those people who have cracked the code and understand that forms are symbols of a deeper reality.
What I am talking about is cracking the code of what a human life is all about. So if you’ve cracked the code and I have, now we’re in a different game. We’re having a different experience. We’re dealing with the practical for the sake of the practical, but not only for that, because in working with that practical thing, whatever it might be, we are not just relating to something that looks nice or right in the outer form, but to something whose inner beauty and inner wonder is being revealed. Isn’t that how it is with form when we’re really being a creator? There’s something beyond the outer form itself.
Here is a little example. Have you ever decided to paint your room for the sake of creating a new atmosphere to live in? Perhaps you notice your life is in a bit of a rut, things are feeling old, and the color in the room that worked at one time no longer does. It’s reminding you of your old life and you are ready to enter a new life. And so you want to paint your room. You get out the paintbrush, go down and get the chip of paint that’s got just the right color, and with roller and brush you paint the room. When it’s all done, and you stand back to look at it, there is more than just a different color of paint that you’re looking at. It’s beautiful! You’re looking at a new world, a new life, a new reality. The form has opened up to something else: an inner reality for which the form—a new coat of paint—is a symbol.
The wine that Jane and I served last night was from Sweetheart City Wines. At one level, it’s just a glass of wine that we served. But even the name speaks of this beautiful city in which I live, Loveland. I feel so lucky to live in a city with that name. A dear friend who has now passed on, George Emery, used to say to celebrate the address of the place where I live: “Sunrise Ranch, in Eden Valley, Loveland, Colorado.” Loveland could be just a name. But it’s a symbol of something else. And the people in Loveland are particularly warm-hearted.
Sweetheart City Wines may be just a trade name, but it says something about Loveland and about the people who made the wine. They are kind-hearted friends of Jane, and they offered their wine at a highly discounted rate. Maybe those folks last night who were receiving a glass of wine from Jane and me could feel our love invested into that wine, and Jane’s care to let the wine tasting occur. And so what could have been just a glass of wine could be filled with something else. The name of the wine was a symbol of that larger reality. And so was the wine itself.
Have you ever noticed that a glass of wine tastes different on one day than another? Food and drink that are filled with the reality of love is different. And food and drink that we appreciate more deeply tastes different. So it is in all our life. The forms of our life are an entry point into a deeper reality. And the forms give us the opportunity to invest a deeper reality into the world in which we live.
The highest of forms we meet on Planet Earth are the forms of other human beings. There is something in every person that you meet that is worthy of worship. If indeed we are a symbol of God as human beings, when you meet another person there’s something in them that’s worthy of your worship, your adoration, your highest love. I don’t care what they did yesterday; I don’t care what side of the bed they woke up on. They are a symbol of the Divine.
Life changes when a person stops to acknowledge what’s worthy of worship in someone else. And all forms of life are bookmarks in the great book of life. Shall we open the book?