The Higher Life
Returning to the Source
By Dr. Robert Leichtman
Script: John 1:1-5 The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through God all things were made; without God nothing was made that has been made. In God was life, and that life was the light of all humankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Our origins can be traced back to the one life and light that has created and sustains all forms of life, including us. It is important to know how to return to our source for renewal, repair, and enrichment (similar to updating the software in computers). The concept of our existence within a greater life is valid, and the more we comprehend it, the more able we are to connect to the supportive resources of this greater life.
The concept that the source of all life is the divine Creator is not a new idea, for it is a constant theme in all major religions and inspired philosophies of life. Likewise, the idea that we, as mere humans, also draw our ability to think and act from this same source is an equally common belief among thinking people. In fact, the notion that there is one life, one power, one design for all humanity—indeed, everything we see—is the spiritual and philosophical basis for many enlightened people.
Of course, this great idea of being a part of one great, benevolent life is not something that is only a matter of speculation. Those who work at expanding their awareness into the subtle realms can potentially experience the fact of this one great benevolent power and life to which we all belong. This is not just a fanciful aspiration but rather a matter of considerable importance. Making some degree of contact with this great power will provide certain immediate benefits for us, and they will definitely be worth pursuing.
Returning to our source of life implies possibilities for renewal, healing, and redemption, and this is just for starters. Religion sometimes muddles our thinking about contact with the divine creative power and intelligence with talk about sin, divine retribution, the fear of God, and how unworthy we are. Those who speak this way are only repeating what they have been taught about their dogma. They are not speaking from their direct experience of an individual contact with our origin in spirit.
Returning to the source is already a commonly practice we engage for sensible reasons and practical benefits. We do this when our complex gadgets of office or home stop working, and we have to return them to the factory for effective repairs.
Let me tell you a story about sending things back to the factory. Years ago a bought a new car, and as a patriotic person, I chose a car that was assembled in the very town where I worked and where many of my patients were employed.
It was a great car, but within a few weeks I had mechanical problems. It would shake badly if I drove over 50 mph. So I took it to the dealer more than once, but the problem remained.
Finally, I mentioned my problem to one of the big executives of the assembly plant, and he said he would have some of the engineers come to my office. They would pick up the car, and check out what kind of repairs were needed that the local dealer was unable to provide. They nicely left me a loaner and returned in a week with my car all happy and well, and that was the end of it.
Well, when we make the effort to connect to our Creator the same possibilities exist for us. We are, in effect, returning to our source where we were “manufactured” in terms of design, purpose, and function. We are in the realm where we can receive repairs not available at our local health provider or counselor. Perhaps we might receive a large dose of peace and cheerfulness to help us cope with anxiety or discouragement or we might receive other support we might not be able to get from our local counselors or pastors such as a quantity of tolerance and forgiveness to help us cope with an old trauma or current annoyance. We might even benefit from an upgrade to our basic ”software” about better ways to think and feel about various important events or opportunities in our life.
Sometimes this upgrade provides new insights about the meaning of old wounds that helps us to move beyond old hurts and conflicts by replacing despair and anger with understanding and acceptance. Or perhaps we receive an insight about our difficult experiences that makes them less stressful when we realize they helped us to become:
- more patient & sensitive to the suffering and needs of others
- or more strong, resilient, & self-sufficient
- or just help us understand that more bitterness & despair is not the right best take about defeat.
The physical factory that assembled my shaking car could, in effect, take it apart and re-assemble it properly—and apparently did something like that to “heal” its problems. Likewise, by connecting to our original source in the great benevolent power of the one life we too can activate the potential for much renewal and healing in our self.
Now a word to the skeptics about such lofty notions of connecting to this higher life to seek renewal and healing. Beware that too much doubt can be a killer to our faith and hope as well as our curiosity and ability to explore new possibilities. Some doubt, of course, helps to repel stupid ideas and tempting but foolish desires and fears. Also, the refined and stubborn intellect tends to insist that, if this higher life were all about and in us somehow, then we would already know about it and be working with it. So many conclude that, because they don’t see it, its not there. Thus, if God wants to come to us, it’s up to God to do it, and so far, it hasn’t happened. Of course this type of reasoning reinforces the skepticism.
It is worthwhile to add at this point that it is usually not a smart idea to wait for the mountain to come to us, whether a literal or figurative mountain. A figurative mountain might be great wisdom and skill or any of our divine possibilities. No, common sense tells us we need to go to the mountain whether it is a mound of rocks and soil, a good education, or some aspect of the divine.
Let me remind you, as far as we know, many fish—perhaps all—are unaware of the water that sustains them. This would include the fish who are certain that water does not exist. in the same way, even those who do not believe in the invisible life and light of God benefit from Its support. However, if we would accept and actively seeks it presence, perhaps our doubtful subconscious might be more open to these higher possibilities.
For some, this effort might be assisted if we took time to appreciate that our life already depends on some items that are invisible and intangible all the time. The air we breathe is invisible and intangible for the most part, and yet we depend on its vitality every minute of our life.
In a similar manner that we are supported by the one life in intangible ways:
- as the ability to be aware and think
- the ability to have feelings, both to give and receive love, joy and kindness
- our capacity to be useful in the world
- to be creative in how we cope with problems
- to restrain our annoyance and then act with kindness
- to feel the fear and do the right thing anyway
- to recognize when we have experienced a burst of:
- guidance to make sense of confusing times
- or a burst of courage to do what we are reluctant to do
- or a burst of goodwill to step in and help others who were at the wits end
Perhaps we have not yet had these types of experiences, but then maybe you have and simply not recognized the subtlety of them. It is often that much later we look back on unusual events and wonder how we moved through them so well and easily, considering what could have happened.
For instance, one person was driving on a busy, icy highway when her car spun around in one complete circle ending up upright facing the right way and kept going in the traffic. She had not considered that this might be more than “strange luck” until I suggested the influence of divine order and angelic support.
Yes, we can always speculate about ordinary explanations for extraordinary events but when unusual patterns of exceptional protection, guidance, or comfort happens to us we need to peel back our doubts and explore our higher possibilities more seriously.
Until we have these experiences, we might benefit from considering the power inherent in the ancient concept that we all reap what we sow. The evidence of this law is one of the interesting bits of proof that there is one great life and power that dwells in and about everything we see, touch, and hear. It establishes a basic order in our world. We know from watching others, as well as our own experiences, that to develop trust and keep friendships, we must express trust and friendliness. We reap what we sow.
We also know that people who are dishonest and manipulative eventually reap rejection and overt hostility from their victims. They reap what they sow.
Likewise, when we apply interest, hope, and devotion to the one, higher life that sustains all life forms. There is a benevolent life force that will eventually respond to this curiosity and devotion. This will be your evidence that something is truly there for you to explore and embrace as a source of:
- new, healing vitality for the body
- guidance to help make sense of your life
- goodwill to soothe your disappointment
- joy and enthusiasm to lift your spirits
- and peace to calm your anxiety.
Let us return to our scripture this morning. This is from the first part of the book of John where it describes in poetic language how the allness of God’s light and life produces the essence of the disciple and prophet called John.
He (John) was with God in the beginning.
Translation. The core or essence of all of us begins this way. Yes, the physical body and senses come from the material world, but the seed or design for an adult character comes from the creative intelligence that supports all life. Our body is physical, but the rest of us is not, and the blueprint for our ideal self comes from the universal life and light of God.
Through God all things were made; without God nothing was made that has been made. In God is life, and that life is the light of all humankind.
Translation: There is one life, one creative intelligence, and one law and divine order that permeates all living things. It appears imperfectly in material form, and it is described in various ways by different spiritual systems. Yet, it is the guiding seed of perfection in all of us.
The darkness of ignorance, denial, malice or selfishness will not overcome it.
So these are a few ideas about the great life of the divine that envelops and supports us similar to how the ocean supports even the fish who are unaware of water. But unlike fish, we humans have the ability to reach out to this ocean of light and life and to open our self to its benevolent support to bring healing and enrichment to all that we are and do.
Think on these things
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