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The passage made me feel paradoxically better and worse at the same time. If we can’t get what we want, what can we get? My mother’s desire to be a people-pleaser came to mind. She wanted everyone to be happy. Unfortunately, she had very definite ideas of what that happiness looked like. My idea of happiness for me and her idea of happiness for me were not the same ideas. When I was happy, she was frequently not happy, and when she was happy it was often the case that I was not. I learned very early on that the way the world works is that everyone is going to unhappy all of the time, or, at least, I thought that was what was going on given my level of understanding at the time.
My mother also had a strong, even fixed, idea of what a respectable career for me might be. Her idea for my career and my idea for my career were two different ideas. I have to acknowledge her for her patience with me. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to raise a child like me. She was very proud of me. She would give me anything that I asked for if it were in her power to give it. I can honestly say that I never doubted her love for me for one second of my life. And yet, I know that if it were possible, she would probably have preferred that I got married…to a woman. She would probably have preferred to have grandchildren. She would probably have preferred to see me get a real job, and that real job, according to her, was in accounting, which was a transferable and sustainable skill to master. She had my best interest in mind, and so it would be that we didn’t see eye to eye. But we loved each other. And that is what made our world work. In the presence of our differences, with our disagreements and mutually disappointments, our worlds worked because although we had different outcomes in mind, we had the same motive: we loved one another.
A World that Works for Everyone ought not to be confused with the idea of a world in which we control other people’s outcomes, or take what belongs to another, not even their freedom, or with something so shallow as everyone getting their way all the time. No, it’s something higher than that.
It is an idea, a vision. And the point of a vision is to help us reach beyond what we have right now. It has to be larger than what we have right now. And, if it is to be a good vision, it has to be so audaciously large that we can’t possibly imagine how it could come to pass.
I understand this to be the way of metaphysics: our work is to accept as clearly as possible the highest vision we can attain, and then the creative intelligence of the Universe pours Itself into that. I do believe that vision has that kind of power in us. And, for it to be truly effective, a vision has to touch something real in us, it has to touch some tender note in us. That is why I love the innocence of that song Coca-Cola made famous, I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, I’d like to see the world for once all standing hand in hand. That’s why I love the lyrics of John Lennon’s epic song that invites us to imagine all the world living as one without divisions. That’s why I love the prophetic vision in the book of Isaiah of a peaceable kingdom. These visions point to something that is so unlike what we have now, that we might be challenged and stretched to accept and imagine it while at the same time it is exciting because it touches something ancient and innocent in us. That something in us sees these visions as the right destination for us, emancipated “from discord of every nature” even if we don’t yet know the way there.
The words from Isaiah describe a vision of a world in which the wolf shall live with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion together, and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall graze together, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw just like the ox while nursing children shall play safely near a snake’s nest and young ones will be near a crocodile den without fear. Because they will not hurt or destroy each other on all of my holy mountain; because the earth will be full of the knowledge of holiness as sure as the waters cover the sea. To me, the Global Vision is just another way of describing the peaceable kingdom. It is just another way of singing Imagine. It is just another way of wanting to build the world a home furnished with love.
We’re not the first people to imagine a world in which our differences do not separate us. We are not the first faith tradition or philosophy to imagine a world in which spiritual guidance is valued, and we live and grow as one human family. Indeed, each of us might very well have our version of such a vision whether it is for our personal life or the whole world. And it is quite likely that we may not yet agree on how this vision is to come about.
My guess is that genuine love for one another can guide us through a world of differences. And I guess that something has to give way to make room for such a vision to take form. The way of metaphysics is that the movement takes place internally first before it ever shows up externally. That’s what I love about the quote Dr. Kenn Gordon gave us in his outline: “The transformation takes place here. You don’t have to wonder if it will take place out there; [that] world will come when enough of us see through the night into the heavenly light.” Ernest Holmes, The Philosophy of Ernest Holmes by Ernest Holmes and George P. Bendall p. 137
I want to practice seeing through the night into the heavenly light because I have this idea that when enough of us see the holy light, we won’t have to worry about how it shows up. If we want to worry about something, we might as well worry about the extraordinary talent humans have for keeping things stuck right where they are and how the tendency of our habits in consciousness cause us to reaffirm a world that doesn’t work for everyone. Let me explain with a recent situation from our Center.
Our Christmas Eve Candle Lighting service was extraordinary. The stage was beautifully decorated with very expensive faux candles. Sixty dollars each, these candles lined the front of the stage in spectacular beauty. After the service, we noticed that someone had stolen one of them. Can you believe that? It was so disappointing. Later I told all my friends about it, and we shared similar stories of being robbed and ripped off and the feelings of violation that went with it. Then next business day at the Center I told our staff about it, and we shared our disappointment. We talked it through and got used to the idea that in this world things like that happen. We planned our strategy against ever letting such a thing happen again.
The problem is, the candle was never stolen.
It had fallen and rolled between the musical equipment and couldn’t be seen. It just appeared to have been taken until it was found. It was kind of embarrassing how quickly my mind went to terriblizing, and thinking the worst. I recognize that tendency as a pattern of believing in a world that doesn’t work, a pattern that has been accepted and believed in for so long that it is the first ‘go to’ for many to explain how the world works.
Now I’m not saying that candles never get stolen; they do. I mention it because it illustrates how patterns can set in, and a person can believe something that may not be true as long as it fits the expected pattern. That’s why I love Science of Mind. It teaches me to practice new patterns. I want to practice expecting the world to stand hand in hand. I don’t care that I don’t know how it will come to pass. I want to break my bad habits of terribilizing and then spreading the terror.
Side story: after fifteen years living in the same old house I finally saved up my dollars to replace the tired kitchen cabinets. Oh, they were old and illogically organized. In the process of renovating, things got moved around a bit. Now the knives and forks drawer is located near the stove where they should be and not near the door that leads to the back yard. However, I am so used to the knives and forks being near the door that for the past four days I keep walking over to the back door drawer expecting to find knives and forks that aren’t there anymore.
Hilariously, each time, there is this moment of surprise in me when I realize “Oh, the forks and knives aren’t here anymore.” Even though I know. It’s not that I don’t understand. It’s not that this new plan isn’t better, it is. It’s that in this case, up until now, I have trusted my old habit more than I trust my new reality. But I am confident in what I have been taught, that as I stay with my vision of a better kitchen, that vision will eventually replace old habits with a new reality, and the old will die away.
As we stay with the vision of a peaceable kingdom, I trust that eventually it will replace old habits with a new reality, and the old will die away. So I’m going to continue to practice seeing the world standing hand in hand, with apple trees, and honey bees, and no one hurting anyone on this holy mountain and the earth full of the knowledge of wholeness. I have this idea that when enough of us see through the night to that kind of heavenly light, we will attain the vision that Ernest Holmes had of the ultimate goal of all life as he described it. “I believe the ultimate goal of all life to be a complete emancipation of discord of every nature…”
I invite you to use your imagination in a playful, innocent way, not limiting it with logic or explanations of how things could be. Instead, imagine what living your life at the level of pure joy would be like. Then think of your friends and family, imagine what it would be like if we already lived in peace, harmony and shared our resources in a respectful way. Then think of our planet and it’s beings, and imagine all living with a sense of belonging and without a sense of fear. Try to imagine what is might look like to live as one global family.
My guess is that if you do this exercise, you will come up with your version of a Global Vision, one that I can see you writing down and putting somewhere you will see it frequently, and updating it as your understanding evolves. I can see you typing it up and sharing that on your social media status update and adding the hashtag #AWorldThatWorksForEveryone. And I don’t mind in the slightest if your vision is different from mine, because if we land on genuine mutual love, I know I will be able to trust your vision, and maybe even follow it.