I’ve suggested that it's common for a wisdom story to offer a spectrum of meaning ranging from the most literal/factual to the most hidden/mystical.
I’ve suggested that the problem with our post-enlightenment/western world orientation is that it so favors the literal/factual end of the spectrum – it so favors that which can be charted on a graph, weighed on a scale, measured with a ruler – that when a wisdom story fails to resonate with us at that end of the spectrum, we discard it. And as a result, we are discarding the timeless wisdom of centuries even as we are dismantling the nobler aspects of religion.
The problem is that we’re throwing out some really good stuff.
I might suggest that the attitude of the Kabbalist is similar (the Kabbalist being the student of mystical Judaism). The attitude of the Kabbalist is similar - that all great wisdom literature is a ladder, of sorts. And that while we tend to dawdle and dally and debate among the lower rungs of literal/factual meaning, to begin to ascend toward those upper rungs of hidden/mystical meaning is to begin to grow in our understanding of the capital “T” truths of life. To begin to grow in our understanding of the Kabbalist’s upper world.
And so it is that I’ve invited us to do just that – to begin to ascend toward those upper rungs of hidden/mystical meaning specific to the grand and epic myth from Hebrew scriptures commonly called the Seven Days of Creation. I’ve invited us to find ourselves in this epic, if you will; to begin to experience it as both biography and autobiography.
I suggested that at the beginning of any creative process, start with God. I’ve been known to suggest it as the most important line in the entire library. It reads, “In the beginning, God.” It doesn’t say, “In the beginning, statistics.” It doesn’t say, “In the beginning, probabilities.” It doesn’t say, “In the beginning, history.” It says, “In the beginning, God.” Effectively, it doesn’t say, “In the beginning, contract into your human limitation.” It says, “In the beginning, expand toward your divine potential.”
About that first day, I suggested that in what can only be imagined as an infinite darkness, God said, “Let there be light.” In other words, I suggested that there comes a point in any creative process at which we must become people of that which is not yet visible; a point at which we must become people of liberation even as we dwell in bondage; people of return even as we dwell in exile; people of justice even as we dwell in inequity; a point at which we must become people of peace, truth and life even as we dwell in violence, falsehood and Coronavirus.
I suggested that there comes a point in any creative process at which we must become people of light, even though we might be immersed in the lengthening shadows of our own brands of infinite night.
And I suggested that this let there be light is a teaching demonstrated by all great visionaries, creators, innovators and avatars; a teaching demonstrated by all who would press against the walls of impossibility erected by humanity’s limited thinking until those walls of impossibility began to crumble.
And now, it’s experienced that on the second day God made an expanse (translated at times a firmament) in the midst of the waters. And this expanse (this firmament) segregated the waters above from the waters below.
Now, on those lower rungs of literal/factual meaning, we find ourselves in some troubling territory. After all, for this expanse to segregate the waters above from the waters below gives rise to a few really good questions. I spent far too many mornings in elementary Sunday school with my hand in the air, you see. “And where, exactly, are these waters above? We kind of don’t believe that anymore. Otherwise our airplanes would look like yachts, you see.” Or, “Shouldn’t this firmament have segregated the ice above from the ice below, given that the sun and the moon weren’t to be hung in the sky for a couple more days?”
As a result, my Sunday school teachers often suggested the Presbyterian church down the street for me.
Nonetheless, as we remember to climb that ladder from those lower rungs, we note that the symbol of water permeates Judeo-Christian wisdom.
From the writer of Zechariah, “Living waters shall go forth from Jerusalem.”
From the writer of John, “He that believes in me, from his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
And from the parable from the same account, “If you knew the gifts of God, and if you knew who it is standing before you, you would have asked, and I would have given you living waters. Because whoever drinks of the living waters will never thirst.”
That water here clearly represents something more than water, you see. And to say that what water represents is important, is an understatement.
Now, for Unity Cofounder Charles Fillmore, he interpreted the waters of Genesis to be the unexpressed possibilities of Mind and while scripture doesn’t always speak to me in the same way it spoke to Charles, I have to say – I like this one!
The waters of Genesis represent the unexpressed possibilities of Mind!
For while we like to think of the higher waters being of God and the lower waters being of something not-God, I suggest we start with the humbling conclusion that all the waters are God’s waters. There are higher waters, yes, and there are lower waters, yes, and all the waters are God’s waters.
This reflects Unity’s first tenet, perhaps, that there is one isness, one beingness, behind the countless expressions of this earthly incarnation. Unity likes to say that there is one presence and one power in the universe and in my life, God the good. Unity’s first tenet says that we truly live in a uni-verse. And there’s nothing new about this idea, by the way, which predates the Judeo-Christian tradition by centuries.
I like to say that there is one all-ness, and because there is one all-ness there can be nothing outside all-ness. In a more traditional verbiage, I might say that we’re all children of God. So, while we experience God through lenses born of human context (this is where religion comes into play, religion being a lens born of human context) while we experience God through lenses born of human context, how we experience God says a lot more about us than it says about God.
That some experience God as a male says a lot more about them than it says about God. That some experience God as Caucasian says a lot more about them than it says about God. That some experience God as moody, punitive, powerful, parental, says a lot more about them than it says about God.
So, there are higher waters, yes, and there are lower waters, yes, and both are God’s waters. There is no naughty fire-breathing counterpart. There is the infinite ocean of potentiality that is God. And this is a tough tenet to begin to embrace because it leads one to the necessary conclusion that the devil didn’t really make him do it (whatever it was) after all.
The devil didn’t make him break those windows.
The devil didn’t make him steal those combs from the local IGA.
And the devil certainly didn’t make him throw those giant fiberglass dinosaurs into that hotel swimming pool in Branson, Missouri.
The fact that that last story fits into the water metaphor so beautifully is just a bonus, by the way. And let me admit that that last story does exist best on the literal/factual end of the spectrum.
There are higher waters, yes, and there are lower waters, yes, and both are God’s waters. And so we arrive at the humbling conclusion that the responsibility for whether one points his cosmic surfboard toward the soaring breakers or toward the sandy beach no longer resides out there but right here.
So, in that ocean of infinite potentiality that we call God, there comes a point in any creative process at which each of us will be called to make an expanse in the midst of the waters. There comes a point in any creative process at which each of us will be called to segregate the waters above from the waters below.
There comes a point in any creative process at which each of us will be called to make a choice regarding the unexpressed possibilities of mind.
Now, what does it mean to you to segregate the waters above from the waters below. I have no idea. But you do.
For me, there comes a point in my creative process at which I’m called to make a choice between my sensibilities and my popularity.
There comes a point in my creative process at which I’m called to make a choice between my righteousness and my peace…