Fresh Thinking, Inspiration, and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation
A friend in Cape Town, South Africa, Fiona Gawronsky, wrote recently about a title conferred by the British monarch, “Companion of Honour.” Her grandfather had carried that title, but her thoughts revolved mostly around the character of people who choose to live a life of service to a shared spiritual vision.
In any collective endeavor, the most central factor is who is present. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins spoke about this in the context of business endeavors, making the point that great businesses begin with “who,” not “what.” As he put it, who is “on the bus” is the first thing. This is even more true for us as we carry forward the work of fulfilling a great spiritual vision. For this work, there must be Companions of Honor who are together to let the vision be fulfilled.
King Arthur’s Round Table has been used as a metaphor for a gathering of people who come together for a common spiritual purpose. The metaphor contains both the depiction of a group of colleagues and a focus of leadership. In the story, it is a circle of knights. For those of us who share a common spiritual vision, it is a circle of Companions of Honor.
If we are to truly be Companions of Honor, what is required? It comes down to this one thing: To be a Companion of Honor, a person must accept total and complete responsibility for the contents of their consciousness. That includes everything in a person’s life, because there is nothing around a person that is not part of the contents of their consciousness. This is a simple thing. It does not take long to say it. But on this one thing hangs everything from the standpoint of those who are manifesting a shared spiritual vision.
There are all manner of other ways to approach the contents of one’s consciousness. The common approach is for a person to be a bystander and a witness to the contents of their consciousness, as if they had no responsibility for them. From that perspective, it is easy to say, “Look what they are doing!” as if the person, themselves, had no responsibility for what other people are doing. Yes, other people are making choices in their life. Yet still, a Companion of Honor takes the radical view that they are the author of their experience, and they are the steward of the contents of their consciousness.
It is a choice to play as a bystander and a witness to the contents of one’s own consciousness, as if there was no part one played in the process other than to observe. If that is how a person chooses to live, they are likely to say, in essence, “Look what they are doing; look at what is happening to me; look at what everyone else is creating. Everybody else is creating what they are creating; therefore I will act this way.”
That is the approach to one’s life as a bystander and a witness, and ultimately a victim of the circumstances of one’s life. Do you ever catch yourself describing your own experience in a way that ultimately goes to having an experience that is being done unto you? This person did this; this person said that; they did this. The punch line in that experience is always “Therefore I am doing this.”
The core issue is a matter of cause. What is the causative factor in your experience? If a person is a bystander to the contents of their consciousness, they are ultimately accepting what is happening in their world as the cause of their experience and the cause of their action. And in such case, they have abdicated the very central role they play in their life, the most central quality of what it means to be a Companion of Honor. To be a Companion of Honor truly, in the highest use of that phrase, you must accept your own central role in your life. You must accept that you are, yourself, the most powerful, the most influential, causative factor in your world.
I often hear people comment on what is missing in their life as if they were only a witness to what is happening, and as if there is nothing they could do about what is missing. The sad thing is that when a person has abdicated from being the central cause of their own life, they cannot see that they themselves have what is missing within them to give and to bring. That happens to a person when they attribute the cause of their experience to the people around them and to the circumstances around them, all of which are contained in the contents of their consciousness. They lose touch with the causative factor in them that could make their experience different, that could make their world different. Embracing the fact that you are the cause of your experience is an act of taking responsibility for the contents of your own consciousness.
When a person settles for being a bystander to their life, they lose touch with the magic within them, which is the magic to create. And that is the saddest thing that happens when a person begins to see themselves as a witness to their own life, as an object in the world in which they live, instead of the causative factor.
But for me, and for anyone, it is easy to talk about other people relative to these matters. If we do that long enough, we could fall victim to being a witness to our own life. No, my power lies just where yours does. My power lies in acknowledging that I am authoring this experience—that who I am is the central factor in what is happening here for me. And because I have chosen, and I choose, to be who I am, I’m present and available to see what I need to see and to act as I need to act. I find I have within me the power of creation. The person who takes responsibility for the contents of their consciousness inherits the power of creation and the magic of creation. I can bring those factors that seem to be missing in my world through me, and all the magic of creation—the strength, the blessing, the vision, the love, the welcome, the embrace and enfoldment that is called for. I have within me, as do you, the inherent courage to act.
This is what it means to offer oneself to others as a Companion of Honor. This is what it means to invite others to join you in fulfilling a shared spiritual vision. Because you are not really safe in my company if I don’t take responsibility for the contents of my consciousness. If I do not take that responsibility, inevitably I will blame you for my experience. The way I make it safe for you to be my companion and to be at the round table with me is to take complete and utter responsibility for the contents of my consciousness.
There are many spiritual practices in the world that have you doing many things that are thought of as spiritual discipline, and there is value to at least some of those practices. In comparison, Emissaries of Divine Light looks like a fairly loosey-goosey spiritual practice—all of us are just having a good time here at Sunrise Ranch and other places Emissaries gather around the world. But I tell you that the spiritual practice of Emissaries of Divine Light is the highest order of spiritual discipline available to a human being. And we won’t settle for any of the lesser spiritual disciplines, even though they may have value to ourselves or others. We are going for the whole thing. And the whole thing is complete and utter responsibility taken for the contents of consciousness.
We like to tell people that Sunrise Ranch is a wonderful place and a place to have a wonderful experience. And it is true that many people come here and enjoy a deep and profound experience. There are also a few people who like to say it is not so wonderful a place, for whatever reason. When it comes down to it, all that is mostly irrelevant. Wherever we are, we have the opportunity to be the creator of our world and to know that we are. We have the opportunity to take complete responsibility for the contents of our consciousness. If we do, we experience the joy of creation. And if we are doing that together with other people, there is the joy of doing it together, the joy of being Companions of Honor.
I can’t imagine that it would be too much fun to be around a group of people like that if you didn’t want to be a part of that experience. After a while, for anyone, a change of scene can be nice—whether it is Sunrise Ranch or any other, and there are pleasurable things to be experienced in the world—but ultimately it’s all unsatisfying and unfulfilling if a person is a witness and a bystander to their life. Pleasure and fulfillment come because we stand at the central point in life, acknowledging the role we play as the causative factor in our world.
Pondering these things, I have this reverie—that I would like to take all the peoples of the world to church with me this morning. Not particularly a Christian church, not just to my church. But I would like to invite all the peoples of the world, wherever they are, whatever culture, East or West, to come away from their usual experience into the most sacred place that a person could go. And without respect to religion or culture, tradition or background, to come together in that place and touch the reality of the divine that’s common to all people—to be in that place together, to experience what’s very naturally experienced in that place together. And so, to inherit what is ours to inherit as humanity, which is collective function that brings the spirit of the Creator to this world, with all the magic of creation that’s inherent in that function. So that together with people around the world, we may truly be Companions of Honor.