On Wednesday, September 3rd, we held a magnificent event: Sunrise Ranch Honors Lillian Cecil. Lillian led Sunrise Ranch and Emissaries of Divine Light with her husband, Martin Cecil, from 1954 to his passing in 1988. We celebrated her great contribution to our work and to the world at large. As a part of that time, we shared a video from 1979. It was full of Lillian’s spirit of encouragement—a mixture of great love and affection and a hard challenge to follow through and actually do what we are called to do in our life. It was so wholesome, so loving, and at the same time she urged people to get past their laziness. So inspiring!
As I listened to the video, I thought of how needed the spirit of encouragement is in our life and in our world, and how needed it is in the community where I live, Sunrise Ranch. Wherever people aspire to do something great, there has to be the courage to actually do it. Courage is the ultimate virtue. Many things lead up to that point where we are poised on the brink of greatness, but it takes courage to actually do it. And it often takes encouragement from someone to bring another person to that place where they are ready to take their leap and fly.
Do you know the story about the day the devil brought a visitor to hell? The devil was showing the visitor around, proudly displaying his wares. They came into a large room filled with vials. Each vial contained a liquid. As the devil explained, each liquid was a poison, one marked Envy, another marked Resentment, another Fear, and so it went. The vials filled the large room and the devil bragged, “I have something for everyone.”
The visitor noticed a small door at the far end of the room. “What’s that?” he asked. The devil ushered him to the door and opened it slowly. This room was dimly lit and much smaller than the previous one. There were far fewer vials in the room and they were each much smaller than the ones the visitor had seen previously, and they had no labels. “What are they?” the visitor asked. The devil grinned. “For most people, there is a vial in the large room that is just for them. But in the rare instance when none of those vials work, I just have to give them one from here. I can be quite sure that will bring them down.
The visitor looked puzzled. “What’s in them?” he asked. “Discouragement, of course,” said the devil.
Discouragement. In our own life, we could move through all the rest of the ill spirits that might fill our life, we could face all the rest of the things we have to face in our life. But if we do not come into our own courage, it’s all for naught. We will succumb to discouragement. It takes courage to create. It takes courage to live your dream, to actually do it. It takes courage to be yourself.
We each have our own unique brand of greatness, our own unique qualities of greatness, our own unique gifts. You may be like me in that when you first realized that there was no other way to live a great life than as you, you shuddered and cowered and thought, Oh my god, it would be so much easier if I could live it like somebody else, if I could just emulate somebody else. It’s a terrible thought that I have to live it as me. I have to live the glory of who I am. I have to show others the reality of who I am. Of course, we don’t feel so glorious to ourselves, oftentimes. It takes courage to be who we are and to show who we are.
It takes this quality of courage to transform the conviction that people have that the things of real value cannot live in this world and cannot be known and manifested by me and by you. If we were all devout, fundamentalist Christians, the issue might be more sharply drawn, especially if we held the belief that heaven is only to be known in the hereafter, and only if you’re good. Then the belief that you could not fulfill the glorious potential of Being in your lifetime would be in stark relief. But as I look around at most of the people I know, the belief in heaven only in the hereafter has lessened, and the belief in a judgmental God that is separate and distant has lessened. Still, for so many people, there is a deep and profound belief that the glory and the wonder of life can’t be known on Planet Earth and can’t be known in this lifetime by you and by me. They may not believe in God, but they believe profoundly in that. What is more, the template for their consciousness is based in that very powerful belief that it is impossible to live a fulfilling life.
So if you look at how people live their lives, in so many cases they live it in a way that makes it impossible. But how else would they do it? If you believe it’s impossible, you spend the rest of your life proving that it is. You wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself by being wrong, after all.
What is the antidote to that lack of courage to believe that greatness could happen here and now, that we could do it together, whatever it is? And then the lack of courage to live that life? The antidote is what Lillian Cecil was offering in her talk. It is encouragement—a quality of the heart that we receive from another person or from within ourselves. It urges us to be ourselves and to fulfill our greatest potential in the life that we are living, and to pour our heart into that life.
What is the spirit of encouragement that you need to hear for you to transform any lingering sense that it’s impossible, it can’t happen—that you can think about it, you can dream about something great, you can watch a movie about it, you can make music about it, but you can’t actually live it? What is the encouragement that could shift that deep belief that is in humanity, which you may have unconsciously bought into?
What is it that we need to hear? You can do it. You’re made to do it. You have to actually stop yourself from succeeding, because you are made to succeed. You are made to fulfill something wonderful in your life. The wonder and the power of creation is knocking from within you, and it wants out. And if it’s not coming out, it’s not because it’s not there, and it’s not because you don’t have it. You have it, and it wants out. But you may be sitting on it. You may be in a state of withholding what you have to give to the world. You may be bargaining: “I’ll give a little bit and see what comes back,” negotiating in your own mind. You may be picking and choosing: “I’ll give a little bit to this person and a little bit to them, and I’m not going to give to this person. I’ll give of who I am in this circumstance if it comes to me just like I want, but I won’t give it here.” You have it to give. Any bargaining and any sitting on it and any holding back is making nobody happy, least of all you.
We are here to fulfill something grand. You may wonder, “Is that egotistical?” You may wonder if this message, itself, is born from ego. Or if your own urge to greatness is born from ego. I say that those are very good questions to ask. If you conclude that any urge to greatness contains ego motivation, avoid it like the plague. And still, the fact remains that this world is in the state it is in. Humanity is in desperate need of the vision to see a way through the issues of this day, and in desperate need of the example of people who are living that vision. The answer to that need lies within you and within me. To bring that answer requires that we rise to the occasion; that we embrace our awakening understanding of the way forward, and then have the courage to bring it to the world. If you are awake to these things, you are standing on the brink of greatness, because it takes your greatness to meet the issues of this day.
Our greatness is all about something far larger than our humanity. Our inner calling is to reveal something far larger than our humanity. It is to offer something up in gratefulness to a reality that transcends our humanity. But it takes our humanity to reveal the transcendent greatness within. That is what our humanity is for. All of Being is waiting for us to do what all the angels of the Universe elsewhere cannot do—be the glory of Being on earth in human form. We can do that for them, for Planet Earth and for all of Creation. Is it egotistical to be that revelation? It’s egotistical to refuse to reveal it.
So I encourage you to rise to your greatness. If you suffer from discouragement, believing that you have no greatness to bring or that there is no answer to the issues we face in this world, I encourage you to take heart, to believe in yourself and know that you are that answer. If the constant reminder of human failing and limitation in the people around you is disheartening to you, I say that whatever your experience has been, you still have the opportunity to show a different way to live in human flesh. You can still love. You can still shine your light.
We are giving glory to the wonder of Being. Not only how great it is and how wonderful it is, but in the middle of that greatness and that glory, how holy. This is holy greatness.