Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
The Book of Job, Chapter 38
We have the opportunity to be a living constellation of morning stars; a configuration of people who are awakening to their spiritual origin. The doorway to that experience is acceptance of the role you have to play in the constellation of people around you. At first, acceptance seems like a very passive thing—it could be seen as giving up. But it is the first step in turning around a pattern of reaction and resistance, and the sense of victimhood that comes with it. It is the first step in transforming the deeply ingrained pattern of saying no to the opportunity before you to saying yes.
The 19th century American author Herman Melville wrote a short story, entitled “Bartleby, the Scrivener.” Bartleby kept the accounts in a bookkeeping office in an era when such things were done by hand. There came a time when he refused to do the thing that was before him to do. When asked to perform his duties in the office, he replied: “I prefer not to.” As the story progresses, he loses his job and eventually dies. He had refused to eat, and what you realize as the reader is that he said no to life.
In the story, Bartleby is an embodiment of the human resistance to accept the opportunity of the present moment. There is always something right in front of us to which we can say yes. It has cosmic dimensions, and yet it starts with something very simple—that circumstance or that person who is right in front of you. Our acceptance of the facts before us opens up the opportunity to say yes to the role we have to play in relationship to them.
That role can look very humble. When people come to Sunrise Ranch we think it is important for them to do simple things, like washing dishes and weeding the garden, because we know that there is always an opportunity to fill the circumstance full with who we are. Accepting the service we have to offer in that circumstance leads to mastery.
Real spiritual leadership is born out of the consistent acceptance of what is in front of a person, and from embracing the opportunity to be of service. If I knew that someone was ambitious about being a spiritual leader, I would be very suspicious. Wouldn’t you? A person has spiritual leadership to offer because they are humble enough to ask the question “How can I serve here?” Not “How can I play the part that I want to play in this constellation of people?” How can I be of service? And when we approach life with that attitude, we find ourselves drawn to the place that we need to be and to whatever is next in our life. Bartleby never found what was next in his life because he didn’t say yes to the one thing that was before him. To that one thing he said, “I prefer not to.”
It is wonderful to be open to visions of the grandeur of one’s own being and the grandeur of what one has to do on earth. We all need to embrace those things about ourselves. And yet, in the living of life, if our aspiration for grandeur takes us away from that very foundational requirement to be of service, we’ve lost our own soul. We’ve lost something of the core of who we are, because at the core of all people there is a deep desire to be of service. And who we are doesn’t need to find a grand stage, as we might think of it, for that to happen. We already have a grand stage upon which our life is playing out. It is cosmic in scope.
Jesus was a man who accepted the ordinariness of his life, while at the same time accepting the cosmic context in which he lived. Dr. James Allan Francis put it this way:
A child is born in an obscure village. He is brought up in another obscure village. He works in a carpenter shop until he is thirty, and then for three brief years is an itinerant preacher, proclaiming a message and living a life. He never writes a book. He never holds an office. He never raises an army. He never has a family of his own. He never owns a home. He never goes to college. He never travels two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He gathers a little group of friends about him and teaches them his way of life.
One of the grand lies of typical human thinking is this: If we accept the circumstance before us and take an attitude of service in it, we will be denigrated by life. The truth is that in any given circumstance we may or may not be denigrated by other people, but we will be ennobled from within if we will live a life of service. And whatever kind of disrespect other people might show us, whatever social status we might have in a worldly sense, it will matter little because in the end those are small things compared to the greatest privilege a person could receive, which is to live a life of service. To know that experience for oneself and to share it with other people is the highest form of pleasure.
Sacredness and holiness are often thought of in terms of relationship to God, to something invisible. It does begin there. It begins with how we’re relating to the source of our own Being. To have gravity for us, the experience of holiness and sacredness has to be what characterizes what we share with other people. We have the opportunity to share what is pristine with other people, and to be true to a trust in holding the space that is between us and another person in such a way that we guard that space jealously, so that it is sacrosanct as far as we are concerned. All the other kinds of holiness end up being simply words of the mouth if they lack this kind of real backing, if we don’t find a way to be true to a trust with one another. That is an uncommon thing in the world in which we live. How many people do you know that can hold that kind of space, even with one other person?
It is our intention to create holy space among a constellation of people; people who are morning stars in human form. How big is a constellation? I’m not sure. How big could this constellation grow? I don’t know. It is ultimately our intention that it should be all of humanity. But it has to start someplace. There has to be some grouping of people someplace who find out what it is to live in right relationship with each other, and let what is sacred live among them, if there’s any hope for the rest of humanity. I really don’t think it’s reasonable to think it will just plop down from the invisible for everybody, all over the place, all at once, without some number of people being willing to start small and create amongst themselves a vessel, not just for holding Holy Spirit but for letting it pour out and overflow into the world. And maybe if we do that, it will just happen for everybody else all at once. But for that to occur, there must be people who say, “It starts with me.”
So that is what we are about at Sunrise Ranch and with friends around the world, some of whom we know better than others, some of whom we’ve known for a long time, and others whom we have never met. To the thousands of people that are flocking to this place in person, and to our publications and websites, we say welcome. There are people who want to join us and be part of what we are part of, one way or another. Welcome. There are only so many people that can live on this property—we are already beginning to stretch the boundaries of that. But in whatever way people find it right to connect with what we’re doing here, and hold this vision for themselves and for humanity with us, we welcome it. People can do that by living here, by visiting, by attending a service, coming to a program, by signing up for our weekly e-mail message, The Pulse of Spirit. Most of all, we find ourselves together with people around the globe who are awakening to a life of service, and so find themselves connected in magical ways with others who share the same calling. We find ourselves in a constellation of morning stars.
Someplace deep inside for these awakening ones, there is a knowing that it is not so much what is happening around us. It is not even primarily what we are doing or not doing, even though all those things are important. Really, the first question to ask is, Who am I being in this circumstance? Am I being myself? Am I being true to what is within me? And however things turn out in the living of life with other people, with whatever projects we take on, if we can truly say to ourselves, “I have been myself in these things; I am proud of what I expressed; I’m proud of what I gave; I’m proud of how I served other people; I’m proud of what I created—it was an expression of me,” then we have the opportunity to be truly happy and fulfilled. I believe we can figure out all the rest from that point of right beginning. We will have been part of laying the foundation of a new world.