There seem to be few contexts available to most people where you are with a collective of people where the energy is high and strong, and where there is a love connection among all concerned. I am thinking of the kind of community of people where there is creativity moving that is restorative and life-giving and celebratory. It seems to me we need such places where we can generate the reality of community, the reality of the dream as we want to know it in all our lives. We need a place where the feeling and the energy of that can be activated, known and regenerated.
At Sunrise Ranch we are a community of about a hundred people, and there are people constantly coming to visit. There was someone who had been there a little while and attended the services. They took me aside and said, “You know, David, you’re saying some wonderful things on Sunday morning, but I don’t think that the people are really getting it.” And I said, “Well, why do you think I’m telling them those things?”
There is something to get—there is something to be activated so that we can bring the strength of that into our lives and to the communities in which we participate. What needs activating is universal in nature. We are bringing what is universal into the immediate and practical. We are tapping infinite possibility, infinite love, and the infinite power that we feel. We are stretching into that to allow it to come into us and feed us, to nourish us and empower us, and give us wisdom.
Coming into a space of interchange with you, my question is: What do we share in common? I know the things that are different. I know that we might come from different cultures and different nations. And you might say we are each a culture of one, so in that sense we are reaching across culture all the time. I know that the way you and I understand our spirituality is unique to each of us. Our words for the Divine might be different; our spiritual practice might be different.
And still, my question is: What do we share in common? Do you think the way you or I practice our spirituality changes the reality of that at all? Does the reality of the spiritual change because of the way I think about it, or because of the name I use for it, or because of whatever spiritual practice I have developed? Does the song I sing, because it is different from the one you sing, make your God different from my God? Does it change the Divine one iota? It does not.
So I ask, what is it that we are sharing in common that is real and undergirds whatever way we practice our spirituality, and whatever way we express ourselves in our culture? Can we celebrate our own culture, which is immediate and distinctive in our life, and at the same time acknowledge that there is something larger that is energizing the culture?
There is something that happens when people live out of culture as their defining reality. It could be a family culture, it could be a tribal culture, it could be a national culture or a political culture. When people live out of the immediate and let that be their defining reality, the possibilities in life become smaller and smaller. The reality people live in becomes more and more limited. Possibility goes. The expansiveness of Universal Love goes, and love becomes all about me and mine.
Generally speaking, people live out of their culture and expect the outcome to be the wonder of love. I say we should try living the other way around. Live out of Universal Love, live out of what we share in common that is global and universal, and live into the immediate and the practical. Live into our culture, not out of it. And then we are free. Our culture is freed up, and the things in culture that bind us are loosened.
There are all kinds of cultures. There is corporate culture and there is organizational culture. There is a culture where I live at Sunrise Ranch. When we live out of our culture instead of into it, we become cultic. Sometimes we get accused of being cultic at Sunrise Ranch. I say you ain’t seen nothin’ if you think that is cultic. Try the corporate culture of the world; try the military culture, if you want to see cultic. Any culture becomes cultic when it is the defining reality that we live out of. It separates us when we are living out of it, as if it is our defining reality. You become separate from me. When we are living into our culture, we can celebrate it, lift it up, and allow it to rise. We are set free and we are given life by what we share in common. That is life-giving. The universal is life-giving.
I was in British Columbia, Canada, last week and I spoke about the highest love. There are many forms of love. Martin Luther King spoke of Greek words for the forms of love. There is eros; and there is philia, which is brotherly love. He spoke of the highest love as agape. All other love is born out of agape. And if you are living into other forms of love—love of your culture, your family, your partner, your husband or your wife, your children—without the highest love, things start to break down. You start to live in some kind of possessive, limited reality that defines you.
How about living out of the highest love? If you are living out of the highest love, then you have that to bring to all the other forms of love that you know in your life. You will have the highest love to bring to your partner, to your husband or your wife, and to your children. We don’t want to come empty-handed to the people in our lives. When you don’t live out of the highest love, you ultimately run out of the natural gift that you have to bring to others. Because those gifts are all born out of the highest love, the love we share in common. And when we tap into that, we always have more to give, and we come with gifts to each other. There are appropriate gifts to every person in our life. And what unfolds in our life are all the forms of love that are natural to us as human beings.
Without the highest love, all the other forms of love run out. Romance turns to resentment. Family relationships break apart. Communities squabble without the highest love. Nations war. I have seen it happen and you have too. I can guarantee that if you participate in a collective where people aren’t accessing the highest love, discord will ensue. They are simply running out of the one love that infuses all others with power. Properly, they are tapping into what brought them together and what they hold in common: the highest love.
Visiting in South Africa, even without really knowing the full history or the politics or the culture of the country well, I can say, That’s what South Africa needs. It needs the highest love. To bring people together in South Africa, you need that. Every country needs that, and the world needs that. The United States of America needs that. The conflict in our world today is pathetic, and why is it going on? In some spheres, you see consciousness becoming narrow-minded, and more and more separate. And still, in the public sphere, there is the emerging voice of the highest love.
Somebody needs to stand up for what we hold in common. We have plenty of people talking about “me and mine” and how they are going to battle other people and how we have to be adversarial and get ours. Plenty of people are talking that language. They are talking about the love for “me and mine,” at whatever level. Where are those who are giving voice to the highest love, to what we hold in common? When those people come along, it lifts our hearts. We feel that desire to rise up to that reality and live out of that reality and say, Yes, I hear us in your words.
Naturally, we each speak the voice of the highest love. There is something individual to that—there is the highest love in you, there is the highest love in me—and then there is something that transcends the individual. We have the privilege of tapping into that Universal Love and being that.
In many traditions, there is the idea of God’s will. What is God’s will? In truth, those words relate to the highest love. But what is the will of the highest love, in you or in me?
I want to use another word for that will, and it is desire. What is the desire of the highest love? Is it not to manifest itself with peace and harmony and creativity and life? Is it not to enter the world? Do you ever touch that in yourself? The will and desire of the highest love that is within you, that wants to come into the world? Relative to the people in your life, do you touch the urge of the highest love that sees that they need something from you? Do you ever think something like this to yourself?
They are hurting, in need of healing, upliftment, hope and inspiration. And I desire to come into their world and touch them with love, for the better. I desire this for individuals whom I meet. I desire this for my community. I want my community to come together and live in peace, live in harmony, live in understanding of one another, in creativity, to thrive, and to know the reality of the highest love that brings peace on earth for real.
Do you not tap into that will, that desire?
We think of God’s will as something so separate from us. But how about the will of love that is within us? When you tap into that, you are tapping into a strength and an empowerment. It is not something foreign; it is not something you have to try to do. If you tap into it, you desire to let it come through you, you want to act on it. And then it is not some foreign thing, as if God’s will had no relationship to how we feel and what we think and what is happening in our bodies. When we are tapping into that desire of the highest love through ourselves, we are being energized, we are being uplifted, we are being inspired by what has true meaning.
The highest love is the ultimate source of all meaning in human lives. And without the highest love coming into all that we are doing, there is no meaning. Everything turns to rot without that. And with that, to our last breath, we are filled with the meaning of life and the desire to express that meaning and fulfill it. We become a living embodiment of the desire of love to fill the world, right to our very last breath.
There was a woman with whom I communicated over years. I was important to her and she let me know it. She followed my writings while living in Florida, many miles from my home in Colorado. She was in her eighties, and her day was coming. Two weeks away from her passing she called me on the telephone. She didn’t typically do that. But she called me on the telephone and said, “You have to keep going!” She said, “You have to keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing so great. But you have to keep going and see it all the way through. You have a great message to bring. Keep bringing it.”
She wasn’t calling because she wanted help. She wasn’t calling for sympathy. She didn’t want me to come to Florida and read her last rites. She had the highest love in her, right to her last breath, and she wanted to make sure that I got it from her. And so she gave it to me head-on in that phone call. I will never forget it. She was connected to the will and desire of the highest love.
How we as human beings have become alienated from that! Even though it is our core reality. It is the most primal thing about us, to want to bring that reality into the world. And yet we often walk around alienated, separated from that, thinking about what we might believe God’s will to be; or perhaps not thinking about that at all, lost in whatever culture we are in, and then not caring, and not having the passion and the will in our own life to bring what is truly meaningful into it. How can that happen? How can we become lost in all the cultural factors, finding then that all goes to battle, separation, breakdown and disintegration, at every level of the human experience?
Today is a good day to connect fully with the highest love that is in you and in me and in all people. It is what we share in common. So if you are connecting with that within you, you are connecting with that same love that is within me and within all people.
Necessarily, we embody it, we speak it, we live it and express it through the culture that we are in. There are many levels to that culture, and each of us is a culture of one. We have the opportunity to speak through our culture of one and the culture we share in common with all people, and every level of culture in between—family, community, organization, faith and country. But let’s speak it into that culture and not live out of that culture.
When we live out of our own culture of one, we are living out of our own psychology. Have fun with that! Living out of one’s own psychology, without any kind of sense of connection to the highest love, leads ultimately to futility. This is living out of your own thoughts and feelings, and trying to figure all that out. How did all this get here in my heart and mind? Perhaps I can heal my past wounds that have left me scarred. I’m going to try to make the best of that and share that with other people.
If you attempt to live out of your culture of one, life is characterized by diminishing opportunity and diminishing hope. Live out of the highest love and you infuse your psychology with that highest love. Your culture of one lights up.
A friend who is masterful in assisting people to work with emotional issues in their life says that we shouldn’t use the term PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)—we should just call it PTS. He says that post-traumatic stress is not a disorder; it is just how life is for us all. We have all lived through some kind of trauma and we all have some kind of residual stress from it. Calling it a disorder makes it sound unusual.
I have to acknowledge that some of us get a heavier dose of trauma than others, and so I live with compassion for those people. But we all live with some measure of PTS. The question is, what do we do with it? Should you make your life all about healing that, and then living out of whatever state of healing or wounding you have?
Any of us might think that if only we could heal our psychology we could live out of it. But let’s try this: right now, let’s live out of our highest love and bring that into our psychology, whatever state it is in. Then our whole psychology does rise up, and we can use the pain in our life for good.
That is true in whatever culture we are in, whether it is a culture of one or the culture of a nation. Has there been any pain in South Africa? Talk about post-traumatic stress! Can South Africa use that pain for good? South Africa has a gift to give to the world—it is giving a gift to the world, through that pain, through what it has learned from it and the fact that it, to whatever degree, has transcended it. And it has been infused with the highest love because there was a window for that love that opened up through people. So the highest love lifted a country and a culture.
We have the highest love to bring to the culture of the world. It could seem like a virtuous thing to do, or a good thing to do. Perhaps. But it is also a sensible thing to do.
I hope that these words have meaning to you. Perhaps they resonate in your heart not only as something you heard from me but as something that you know to be true for yourself. And in some way, perhaps you have not only been reading my words but you have been speaking your desire and your will, born out of the highest love within you and within us all.