Here are the words of The Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
Wise words. So what are the things that we can change? Over what do we really have dominion as human beings? It’s so easy in our life to be distracted by the things we cannot change. There are awful things going on in the world. Recently, the remaining staff members of the American Embassy in Libya escaped the Embassy due to the violence of rival militias there. Of course, Libya is only one place in the world where there is terrorism and violence. There has been horrible loss of life in Gaza, which now seems to be subsiding. Violence continues in Syria, and the activities of Al Qaeda have been growing over the past three to five years. Closer to home, in our own immediate circumstances, there always seems to be something happening on a far lesser scale that can be distressing to us. These are things that we cannot change. At least not right now.
I believe we have an influence over all that happens in our life. We can influence the choices that other people make. We can bring a spiritual influence into the world at large. But influence is a lot different from dominion. I am not in position to decide what Al Qaeda is going to do or not do. In fact, I’m not in position to decide what you are or are not going to do, even though I may be able to influence it.
So where do I have absolute dominion to change things? For me, the answer is immediate and obvious: it’s right here, with what I choose to give voice to, what I choose to do, what I choose to express. I believe the same is true for you or for anyone. As long as we are still conscious, we have choice. And what we have choice over is what we are going to give our life to, what we choose to express. We have dominion over those things, and potentially absolute dominion. Somebody else could try to influence you, but in the end you are choosing what you will express into your world.
My word for the world over which we can have dominion is castle. When you are making clear, conscious and creative choices about what you will express into your world in thought and feeling and in action, and through your words, you are creating your castle. Your castle is your fortress because it is a place of unassailable strength in yourself. Most people miss that experience because they are distracted with the things that they cannot change, and they are fretting over them. They are not paying attention to the things they can change. They are not building their castle out of the all-powerful, Universal Love within them.
Something happens when we build that castle of Universal Love. We look around and notice others who are doing the same. When there are two people who are taking full and total responsibility for their choices and their expression, you have two people who are in their castle. So what do you have, just two castles? Where there are two people who are bringing the totality of their being into their castle, they can acknowledge that about each other and notice that together they are building one castle.
Now there is a field that we are sharing between us where the holiness of life can live, and we can share the holiness of life together. That is a joy. The castle is a place of life, because life thrives when people are exercising their innate dominion over what they express. Life can take place at many levels, from the very highest to the very lowest, with no judgment around which level is better than another. There is only one way to have this kind of dominion and that is from the highest point in ourselves. From that place, we can see and take responsibility for it all. In that highest place in ourselves, we are connected with all of Being. We see that Being is manifesting throughout Creation, and we are one with the Being that’s manifesting. The reality of Being is what gives us the power of dominion. With that perspective, it isn’t just David in his castle. It’s the reality of Being manifesting as David, and for you, as you.
Love holds the castle together. That is true individually and it is true between us. People try to hold their castle together with so many other things. At a personal level, people sometimes try to hold themselves together with drugs, either the good kind or the bad kind. They all end up being the bad kind in some way, I think. People try to hold their castle together with money. I’m not saying that money can’t play a part in things—it certainly does. But you cannot hold a castle together with it, not your own and not the castle you share with another person. Sometimes people try to hold the castle together with fear and intimidation, intimidating others, perhaps even intimidating themselves. Not a good way to hold things together. Ultimately things fall apart on that basis.
Love is the mortar between the stones of the castle; love at every level, from the highest to the lowest. Sometimes you may believe that you were sharing something of Universal Love with another person. It could be in an intimate partnership; it could be in a circle of friends, family or community. At some point along the way, you may find yourself wondering “What is this other person thinking and what are they doing? I thought we were creating this castle together. What do I do now? I thought we were operating on the basis of oneness, and now there is separation. Now it seems to be every man, every woman for himself or herself.”
What do you do then? Care for your castle. You go back to the things over which you have absolute dominion, so that you can say to yourself, irrespective of what anyone else does, “This is my fortress and I have absolute dominion here. The dominion of Love will rule here.” That is your fortress of love. It’s your fortress of sanity in the midst of whatever happens. That is what preserves your opportunity to reconnect with another person and say, “Yes, we’re both going to hold this together. We’re part of one reality building one castle together.”
There is always the risk in the connection with other people that what you thought you were holding together splits apart. What happens then? It’s easy to lose it personally on such occasion; to be in confusion and to be lost. That is the time to go back to your own core truth, to go to the highest place in yourself where you connect with all of Being. And from that highest place of love in yourself, to say, “I have dominion here over what I express, what I radiate in my life.”
I’d like to use another word for the castle. That word is Temple, because the house of our Being is not solely a place of protection. The words fortress and castle imply that. When we really know the serenity that is not distracted by what we cannot change, and we take conscious responsibility for what we are expressing ourselves, our castle becomes a place of supreme worship. The worship of life, itself, permeates the Temple and radiates out from it to the world.
The Temple is the Temple of Life. The Temple of Life is held together by love, and the design of that temple is the truth of our Being. When we are taking absolute and total responsibility for what we are expressing, we are being true to the truth of our Being and expressing the design of that in our life.
Where I live, at Sunrise Ranch, we are building a Temple of Life. Unlike physical buildings, we are building this Temple mostly from the top down. We are building it from the highest place that we share together, the highest love, the highest reality that we know. We are starting there. With that in place, we are also building from the bottom up. There are foundational pieces that we are putting into physical form—buildings, infrastructure, websites, studios and the like.
It is not just at Sunrise Ranch that this Temple of Life is being created. It is manifesting in the experience of people who are in this process, wherever they may be. These are people who choose not to be distracted by what they cannot change, who are the sovereign in their castle and the priest or priestess of their Temple. Is that you? If so, I invite you to connect with people who are sharing that experience around the world. Let’s not only create our own individual Temple. Let’s create One Temple, knowing that together we can be a priest of that One Temple. Personally, I love to be in touch with such people, however it happens—in person, through letters, through e-mail, or through Facebook or any other kind of interaction online. How about you?
Let’s find ourselves in this reality. Let’s touch there. Let’s find what we have in common there that we share. I don’t care what culture you came from, what race you are, what religion you have practiced. I care about that most sacred essence of Being that you are and that I am and that we share in common. And from that highest place, let us build a Temple of Life. In all that we express, individually and then together, let’s build a Temple out of love. This is the Temple of the Sun. The sun is an accurate symbol of the radiant core of Being that is our inner reality.
As we do this with all the authenticity of who we are, and with all the self-responsibility that we are capable of, and we build it with the love that we are, we really have something. That building is continuing as long as we choose to let it happen in everything that we do, with our full passion and the full force of our life current. It continues as we see it all the way through and build it all the way down to the ground.
For us at Sunrise Ranch, what we are creating is a radiant temple that doesn’t stop at the boundaries of our property. Wherever there is someone who shares this reality in whatever way, they belong in this Temple. They are part of this Temple. They are invited to be keepers of this Temple, wherever they are. And wherever they are becomes a temple—their temple, but part of the One Temple, because ultimately there is only One Temple for all humanity. That is the Temple of the Sun.
This week, thousands of people are coming to Sunrise Ranch to experience the Arise Festival. We haven’t met most of them yet. But they will be entering the Temple experience as they camp in our pastures and listen to great music. Like those people coming to Arise, you have the opportunity to enter the Temple more deeply in your experience in these moments now as you read these words. We always have that opportunity. When we embrace it, we are changing the things we can change in our own experience. And while there are things in the world we cannot change, we are extending our influence to them. It is the influence of inspiration and example. It is the influence of personal peace and the personal victory of a happy, fulfilled life. It is the radiance of love that pours out of the Temple of the Sun that we share with all truly spiritually conscious people around the globe.