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Let There Be Light




It's common for a wisdom story to contain levels of meaning from the most literal/factual to the most hidden/mystical.


And it seems to me that one problem with our post-enlightenment/western world, is that we’ve grown to so value the literal/factual levels of meaning that when a wisdom story doesn’t resonate at that level, we dig no deeper. When fish that swallow people and women who become salt and men who built arks and rabbis who walk on water and water that becomes wine fail to raise the needle on our esteemed common-sense meters, we dig no deeper. In fact, in increasing numbers, we discard the wisdom stories altogether.


I’m reminded of the old saying often attributed to Einstein, that says everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.


And our post-enlightenment/western world has grown to so frown upon all that cannot be charted on a graph, weighed on a scale, or measured with a ruler, that we inadvertently judge these helpful, insightful, transformative, powerful wisdom stories to be stupid fish in a tree climbing world.


Church is dying, you see, not because value is lacking in its messages. Church is dying because understanding is lacking in its messengers.


In the Jewish tradition, there are names for these levels of meaning – the most literal/factual being Pshat, the most hidden/mystical being Sod.


So, at literal/factual levels of understanding (or Pshat), our wisdom stories tend to exist as history or prophecy or artistry or fantasy or poetry alone. But at deepest levels of understanding (at Sod), our wisdom stories come to exist as autobiography as well. At deepest levels of understanding, Dorothy Gale’s trek to Oz and back might speak to your trek. At deepest levels of understanding, Rocky Balboa’s belief against unthinkable odds might speak to your belief.


And it’s undeniable that Unity Co-founders Myrtle and Charles Fillmore stood with countless other metaphysically minded interpreters and teachers as well as our mystical/esoteric Christian brothers and sisters as well as our Jewish/Kabbalist brothers and sisters in encouraging us to pursue these deeper meanings of the Judeo-Christian Bible — to pursue its wisdom as autobiography.


So as strange as it might seem to have a leader encourage you to ask, “Yeah, but what’s in this for me?” that’s exactly what I’m encouraging you to do. I’m encouraging you to start digging again. I’m encouraging you to excavate something of a personal truth from one of the creation myths in Genesis. I’m asking you to consider that at deepest levels of understanding, God’s creative nature such that it would spin worlds, might begin to speak to your creative nature; and that at deepest levels of understanding, the story can help us wield that creative nature in higher ways.


I encourage you to buy The Creative Life: 7 Keys to Your Creative Genius by Eric Butterworth - the renowned teacher, writer, theologian and mystic.


In chapter 1, Butterworth suggests that there is one genius Mind (that’s capital-M mind) expressed and expressing in accord with the uniqueness of its creation.


In other words, there is one genius mind expressed and expressing as the wisdom of Jesus, as the creativity of Chopin, as the vision of Picasso, as the presence of MLK. There is one genius mind expressed and expressing as the craftsmanship of an inspired architect, as the intuition of an effective educator, as the revealer of a new understanding, as the sensuality of an Italian chef.


And yes, I am willing to go on record in my bold suggestion that a good Alfredo sauce is proof of God. But I digress.


And while I can’t speak for you, I will reveal that what my ego mind tends to do is to confuse that one genius Mind with the one who’s expressed or expressing it. In other words, what my ego mind tends to do is to say, “Well, because you don’t express with the presence of MLK, MLK clearly has something you don’t.” Or “because you don’t express with the vision of Picasso, Picasso clearly has something you don’t.” Or “because you don’t express with the creativity of Chopin or the wisdom of Jesus, they clearly have something you don’t.”


What the ego mind tends to do is to confuse that one genius mind with the one who’s expressed or expressing. And yet, I am reminded of the words of Butterworth: that there is one genius Mind (that’s capital-M mind) expressed and expressing in accord with the uniqueness of its creation.


In other words, I am reminded that MLK didn’t express like Picasso because he had the courage to express in accord with the uniqueness of his own soul.


And Picasso didn’t express like Chopin because he had the courage to express in accord with the uniqueness of his own soul.


And Chopin didn’t express like Jesus because he had the courage to express in accord with the uniqueness of his own soul.


In other words, it seems to me that great souls don’t become great because of their capacity to mimic perfectly. Great souls become great because of their capacity to express courageously.


And so it is with you.


I might suggest that to stand forth in your genius is to stand forth in your uniqueness.

To stand forth in your genius is to stand forth in your uniqueness in a society that would encourage conformity; in a society that would press individuals into molds fashioned by yesterday’s educational systems, by yesterday’s scientific understandings, by yesterday’s religious habits.


If MLK had been hung up on expressing like Picasso, we’d be missing some really beautiful ideas. And if Picasso had been hung up on expressing like Chopin, we’d be missing some really great art. And if Chopin had been hung up on expressing like Jesus, we’d be missing some really stunning music.


The deeper narrative behind any truly great souls isn’t, “Behold the expression of my genius,” but, “Behold the genius of my expression,” you see.

And so it is that we arrive at the spiritual practice of week 1: let there be light. If you want to create, start with let there be light.


Let there be light – not as the recollection of some past event but as the affirmation of a present possibility; not as a begging for that which would come from without, but as an invitation to that which would rise from within.


In personal matters (maybe you’re struggling to pay the rent), may let there be light become your first response. Said another way, may that one genius mind express something of its genius through me today. I am courageous. I am willing.

And there’s an affirmation for you: I am courageous. I am willing.


In relational matters – maybe you don’t know how to move forward in that situation (you know the one). May “let there be light” become your first response. Said another way, may that one genius mind express something of its genius through me today. I am courageous. I am willing.


In collective matters – I can’t speak for you, but there are moments in which I question just who and how I’m supposed to be in the nuttiness of today’s world. May “let there be light” become your first response. Said another way, may that one genius mind express something of its genius through me today. I am courageous. I am willing.


Maybe there’s a physical matter or a decisional matter or a philosophical matter. May “let there be light” become your first response. Said another way, may that one genius mind express something of its genius through me today. I am courageous. I am willing.

Let there be light – not as a statement of request. But let there be light as a declaration of permission.


Let there be light – not as a calling down. But let there be light as a calling forth.


Let there be light – not as a commodity to be received. But let there be light as a quality to be revealed.


Let there be light – not as that which would be seen. But let there be light as a way of seeing.


Let there be light – not for that which might happen to. But let there be light for that which might happen through.


Let there be light – not as egoic comfort. But let there be light as spiritual availability.


Let there be light – not that it might be received by us. But let there be light that it might be emancipated by us.


Let there be light – not that you might finally recognize me. But let there be light that I might finally recognize you. Let there be light that we might finally recognize each other; that we might recognize each other at long last.