In the fairy tales we learned as children, you may remember the gallant princes who awaken Sleeping Beauty and Snow White from the spell of slumber with a kiss. Fairy tales are powerful stories if we consider the archetypal nature of the characters. From the Prince to the Princess to the animals and trolls, to the wicked Queen, the characters are all aspects of our own psyche. The Bible with its characters of mythical proportions is much the same. In Genesis 2 the story tells us that Adam fell asleep, and there is no mention of Adam ever waking up. Like Adam, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, we are all asleep.
It recently occurred to me that while most churches exist to bring more people to God, our church exists to bring more God out of people. Sit with that idea for just a minute. People often seem perplexed as to how to share our church with others. Who knows? Maybe this idea will be a new gateway.
What do I mean by bringing more God out of people?
The fact is, as we each stumbled from childhood to adulthood, every time we experienced fear and separation, we formed rigid and limiting thoughts that govern our lives to this day. You’ve heard them: “I’m not worthy,” “I must be in control,” “I can’t,” “People can’t be trusted,” “Life’s not fair,” “Life is suffering,” to name just a few. These rigid beliefs lock our inner God nature deeply inside so that Its Infinite Radiance minimally shines as us. Our personalities are structures that seem to the ego as solid as the iron bars in real-life prison cells. We bring more God out of people by dissolving those barriers. We dissolve those barriers by practicing the Presence and by committing ourselves to spiritual community.
The spiritual path is almost exclusively about staying awake. When we come to church or gather with our spiritual family in discussion or prayer groups, something touches us inside. We may be shaken to the core and jolted awake to the Presence as the Truth of our Being. Or we may more subtly experience the still, small voice quietly whispering, “You are my Beloved… remember….” Or we may just experience the delight of authentic community; how our hearts sing when we connect, share, love and support each other.
And then as we walk away, like Adam, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, we succumb to the spell of the world. We find our consciousness either pulled into the day-to-day [“led into temptation”], drifting off to lands far from our center, or even spiraling into those more base levels of our own dark underworld where we live in fear, shame, blame and uncertainty.
I’ll say it once more: the spiritual journey is almost exclusively about staying awake. Take time this week to sit in the Silence; to listen to the voice of Spirit within; to pray with a friend; to stop and notice the beauty and simplicity of what is right before your eyes.
Truthfully, our journey is to nowhere. The Divine within is always there. It doesn’t need to be sought. It doesn’t need to be found. We just need to kiss ourselves awake to it. Our happily ever after is Now.
"The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." Romans 13:11-12