The Blessing of Lifting to God’s Standards
Our task is to stop making choices that limit and start making choices that manifest the blessings.
There is a higher standard of living available to us, which we can attain, that I call practical spirituality.
This is not something that we just study or analyze or that was lived at some distant time that we reminisce or wonder about. If we cannot practice our spirituality, if we are not able to live beyond the pulpit and express into the world, then it just does not mean much, if anything. If spirituality has no real application, then it tends to be simply a nice idea or a romantic fantasy.
Once, while I was in South America, I was watching television reports on the famine in Somalia, and it became very clear that I should go there myself. I was looking at what was occurring not as an individual situation but as a situation perpetuating itself into an entire nation and demanding the attention of the world.
The tremendous pull to go was generated by the level of response that I personally experienced as insufficient. The technology of modern television was bringing me face to face with needless and massive human suffering. If the eye of the camera could get close, then so could a helping hand. Within my consciousness, I saw that just one person could make the needed difference.
I asked myself, “What is so important about what I’m doing that I couldn’t travel to Somalia and stand up for a higher standard of life?” It was not just to “drop everything and go,” though the impulse was to do exactly that. I needed to look at my level of responsibility with the Spirit of God that I worship and allow myself to experience what was there for me to do in response.
This look at my personal level of responsibility for a situation that seemed so overwhelming and remote was quite daunting. But my personal responsibility to the Somalian situation was undeniable and imminent even with what appeared to me as very substantial personal responsibilities and commitments, such as my family and work.
Often when we see the kind of human suffering that was occurring in Somalia, we want to turn away–sometimes uncontrollably–when we are faced by the severity of what we feel from witnessing the conditions of others’ suffering. How are we to determine what our level of responsibility is when we are confronted by such massive needs in our world?
A quandary is always an occasion to look inside for the counsel of God or whatever you use for your reference of the highest standards. On the one hand, in the midst of others’ suffering, we can often perceive a lack of response in relation to those who appear to have and those who have not. We can feel the pull to respond, to help somehow. On the other hand, suffering is not pleasant for anyone, so why bring the suffering to ourselves by getting involved in situations that appear to be not personally of our own making?
Three days later I was still considering that I should go to Somalia. I began to seriously consider the implications of actually going to Somalia, the impact on my family, my work, and the rest of my involvements. What would I have to do in order to go? When would I go? Would I still go if certain conditions improved? Knowing that emotions–including mine–have cycles and shifts, I chose to wait two weeks before making a decision.
At last, the governments of certain countries, particularly the United States with support from a United Nations resolution, opted for military intervention to ensure that people would get the food and basic assistance they so desperately needed. I cannot think of a better use of the military than to ensure the safety and welfare of a desperate people, through mobilizing and protecting the delivery of food, supplies, and assistance to those who are most in need.
And so with the evidence that what was needed was being done, I did not go to Somalia. But it is the kind of situation that continues to affect me, as well it should. I am still very much affected by situations in the world that appear to lack human kindness and compassion. Pictures of emaciated, starving people, young and old, raging inhumanity and violence, degradation of the environment, and so on are clearly not to be ignored if we are to live in a world of health, wealth, and happiness.
Regardless of who these people are and what they have created for themselves, especially the children, our human compassion implores us to do something to help. We all deserve better, and we can have better.
The question we all have to consider is, what is the level of response called for when a situation moves us to do something?
There are certain people who look at the situation and pose a different set of questions. “Somalia or Kosovo is a distant, unrelated situation. Why don’t we take care of the people in our own backyard who are suffering, are without food or shelter, are in poor health, and need assistance? I’m sure there are people close by in our communities who need assistance.”
The situations, and more so the consciousness, of the people in need confront all of us who are witnesses to create a higher standard of living. The greatest opportunity to raise the standard will be found at the place where it is the lowest. When we witness what is being shown to us in places like Somalia or Kosovo on such a massive scale, we can realize that we can well afford to do something from our place of living at a much higher standard. In one sense, we cannot afford not to respond, lest by our denial we relegate ourselves to a lower standard.
We could take a viewpoint of great altitude to see the causes in the situation resulting from all the levels of choice. We could take a position that these people have all chosen the conditions in which they live in order to justify our doing nothing in response. Yes, we could be right. But is there a higher standard of living to attain? And are there those who have already demonstrated that a higher standard can be attained? Are we willing to subscribe to the higher standard of living?
One of the primary standards of living that God reveals to us is to love with abandon. That means to love without any holds that would restrict the loving, including distance, culture, or any resulting costs. It could mean to give up everything that holds us back from fully loving, fully caring, and fully doing what we can to lift the situation to a higher standard.
We may need to abandon our previous standards of loving that are bound by our comforts, our morality, our beliefs, or whatever else keeps us from freely loving. As we practice our spirituality, we are bound to learn how to move past standards of loving that are limited by separation, prejudice, and fear.
Loving is God’s way. When loving makes its way known to us, we are to follow with abandon and to do so boldly, without reservation. When John-Roger administered my blessing to set me aside to perform ordinations as a minister, I was told, “It is the unconditionalness of life that must be lived.” We are to abandon the smaller self that we have previously known, for the larger Self that is God’s unconditional nature, boundless in love, boundless in its ability to overcome any restriction.
Recently, a student from a university I am involved with was leaving a weekend class when she was hit by a car while walking in a crosswalk. The accident resulted in some severe broken bones and internal injuries. All things considered, she is now doing fine. An occurrence of this magnitude, of course, affects her family, friends, and fellow students. When something like this happens, we send all those involved God’s Light for healing and whatever else is needed. And we have a responsibility to raise the standard, perhaps with traffic controls, so this kind of event is less likely to happen.
These kinds of occurrences happen as part of our life experience in this world. Each time we are “hit,” we can immediately abandon whatever might close us down to the opportunity to extend loving and caring to all those affected by the situation. This is especially true whenever life brings us unexpected hits to overcome. We must learn to abandon the urge to react negatively with our upset and interpretations against the situations. We must learn to abandon any standards that could allow us to judge people and situations as anything like evil or a cause to wreak havoc and violence. We are called upon to consider how we can stop whatever is lowering God’s standards by which we live.
If, together, we are to bring forward a higher standard of living and loving, then we must be willing to remain open and compassionate toward the suffering of others. For in the midst of human suffering is always a great opportunity to witness and assist with the outpouring of the Spirit of God to all. If we are to experience the greater oneness with the Spirit inwardly, then we must remain open to support our connection outwardly as well. We must be willing to do unto others what God, through the Spirit, would do through us as the expression.
We must abandon whatever standards would keep us from living according to the Spirit, to be the vessel of God’s intention through us.
We are learning how to abandon outmoded standards so we may participate in manifesting God’s love onto the planet. By doing this, we will generate the necessary energy and responses from the Light to wherever people are crying out. As we are willing to make the blessings of loving, caring, and sharing manifest, then other blessings that are available in Spirit will manifest as greater health, wealth, happiness, etc. This is grace in action.
If you are going to dedicate yourself to a more spiritual life, then it follows that you are going to dedicate yourself to a higher standard of living and loving. Does this translate into your having better furniture, better food on the table, better clothes, a nicer car, and nicer friends? Sure, that can be part of it. It is about a better standard of living in all aspects of your life. With God, we are dealing with an unlimited source with unlimited possibilities.
There is something further that goes with a dedication to raising the standard of living in all aspects of our life: a decision to choose into a higher standard of living in every aspect of life.
It begins with you and it ends with you. It includes everything in between as well. As you continue to raise the standards by which you live your life, you will have greater responsibility to abide by the higher standards. There are sacrifices that go with this, challenges that will confront you in raising the standards, requiring patience and your willingness to change from the lower standards.
Simply stated, you must subscribe to and be willing to maintain greater standards in everything you do, regardless of the conditions and especially with a willingness to let go of the past. Are you willing to let go of the past?
What you subscribe to right now–by the way you live from now on–determines what your standards of living become.
By worshiping God within, we automatically adopt the higher standards of living that our spiritual transformation will bring forward. It is important to realize that God will transform your life as promised in scriptures when you seek “first the kingdom of God . . . and all these things shall be added unto you.”1 [Footnote 1 Matthew 6:33] God is the one who commands us to abandon all else so that we can then seek his kingdom. In the process of abandoning everything to God, we place ourselves in a direct line to receive the divine inheritance that is our destiny while we are living here in the world. We are to learn how to act in accordance with the blessings of God, that they may become manifest.
One of the miracles of God is that there is room for every one of us to be in this direct line to receive the blessings that are our divine inheritance. We can and do share in the higher standards of living that God has already placed in Spirit as all the blessings that await our partaking. We have direct access to the blessings now. Our task is to stop making choices that limit and start making choices that manifest the blessings. As we each do this for ourselves individually, we will do this for one another, because the blessings are designed to be shared. The more we raise our own standards, the more the standards are raised for one another and all of us together.
Raising the standards begins right where you live. Make sure you are taking care of the basic standards. The basic standards are things like paying your bills, taking care of your body, cleaning your teeth, kissing your children good-night, getting along with your neighbors, and generally leaving situations better than you found them. Learn to make the most of and enjoy what you already have.
Manifesting the blessings is not really anything that is complicated or even difficult. Clear out what is not serving you or no longer actively being utilized. Give and share joyously. Receive graciously. Make amends. Adorn yourself first with inner beauty so the outer beauty may benefit from your best intentions. Contribute more than you take. Make each place you find yourself better than you found it. Be an abundant source of good tidings to and from God. In short, let go and let God.