What are you worth? It seems to me that this is a very fundamental question: I first asked this question at a fundraiser for Dorothy's Place, speaking to a group of rather well-to-do-folks who attended the Basilica of Carmel Mission... one woman looked up at me as if I had just slapped her...
When I repeated the question, "What are you worth?", another woman caught my drift and shouted out, "I am worth the best!" Exactly, I said! In other words, "You are worth loving: being love, and giving and receiving love. Is that right?" At that moment, everyone got on board with my thinking and presentation... To this day, I believe that most of us operate in life under "false identifications", and again, most of us are unaware of exactly who we are...
The more unaware we are the more likely it is that we are loud and boisterous as to our perceived identity: "I am such-and-such person"... And yet, to be frank, you are not: not unless you have correctly identified yourself as Unlimited Love! Perhaps you are thinking that that would be a pretty weird name: perhaps a name found in a long-lost hippie commune... Only on a "conditioning" level are we "Bob", "Stephanie", or "Miriam": we are not who we think we are, nor are we the determined projections of parents, family, peers, society, etc.
You see, going way, way back: before there was anything but the Possibility of Consciousness: there was the Divine First Thought: "What if?" This "What if?" provoked a Second Thought: "Why not?" Sort of like an immovable object being hit by an unstoppable force: not a "Big Bang", but an incredibly enthusiastic "Oh yeah!" The Possibility of Consciousness: thought... answered, and implemented that thought: and wah-la: here we are... thinking we are "Pedro", "Maxi", and "Cosmos"...
We are made of stars: atoms that took form with the Implementation of Divine Possibilities are within each of us right now! Everything that exists on any and every "level" is saturated with Original Star Shine: so forget that poop about "original sin": you are Original Star Shine! A story...There once was a thoughtful Emperor who wished to determine the wisest from between the Taoist sages and the newly arrived Sufi dervishes. So the Emperor gathered both groups in his Royal Hall, pointed to the opposite walls and challenged them with, "The wisest I will determine to be the ones who paint the most splendid mural! You shall share in the wealth of my land!" Three months go by, and the Emperor is determined to pick the winner. He instructs the removal of the curtains dividing the room each from the other: the Taoists had painted a magnificent landscape with stunning vistas and waterfalls... and on the opposite side, there was the exact same masterpiece painting! How, indeed, could that be!? The Sufi dervishes had simply followed their Path of Remembrance and had constructed a ceiling to floor mirror to perfectly reflect the Taoist masterpiece! Astonished, the Emperor pronounced the Sufis the winners... [Clapping one another on the back, all the Taoists and Sufis both snuck away from the Emperor by hiding in the Kitchen and joining the working staff...]
Each of our "false identifications" fall away as we come to remember -- and reflect back upon the world -- our Divine Secret: We are That! "We were created by Love, for Love, to become Love." (Simone Weil) We live, move, think, work, play, sex, and everything else as "Mirrors" of the Divine: the One Love Consciousness: when we think that we are "George" or "Ali" we might try to kill one another: when we think we are "male" we probably try to control and dominate "female": when we think that we are "saved" we might judge as "unsaved" anyone not like us: when we are "afraid" we might react to drive away or out the refugee and the immigrant... and on and on... But as "Mirrors of the Divine", we steadily learn how to "reflect" back the Face of Divinity upon everyone we meet. This is the great mystic secret: the Divine has no eyes, no hands, no feet, and no ears but ours: We were created so the Divine could "discover" -- see -- Itself through our eyes and love through our loving compassion! No longer a crowd of "false identifications", we can become free to "be love now"...
Daily life: is it really life at all? When considering the reality of most (?) people, isn't the so-called "mundane" the drag, not the ecstasy, of life? If our life is not marked by bliss, why not? If the daily is always a struggle, what do we need to change our seeming destiny?
A few years ago, it seemed that one would hear "been there done that" applied to nearly everything and said constantly. So when I consider the theme of daily life being a source of ecstasy, I fully understand that for much of my life, ecstasy was nowhere near my definition of life and living... and in the deepest throes of despair I muttered -- not expecting an answer -- this simple prayer-plea: "God, I need a miracle!" That plea was immediately followed by "God, I just want to love!" And then the strangest thing ever happened: it was as if the Holy One said, "Me too!"
Absolutely nothing is easy: but much of the "battle" can only be fought if we commit to "engage the forces that are keeping us from our bliss"! Most of those "forces" exist only, or primarily, in our mind: so changing our thinking patterns is a must: most of us become habituated to the patterns that dominate our thinking: we've got to let go of those patterns and habits. Of course, this is easier said than done, but whenever we become aware of our negative thoughts, we can jump into some glorious affirmation: like, "I am loving , strong, and capable!" For most of my life, I was made to feel small, bad, and ugly: convinced of those truths, it was a slog to change my mind: why do you think the woman's voice in the Song of Songs begins with, "I am dark, but beautiful"? She was told and treated -- by the people who were supposed to love her -- as "dark": small, bad, and ugly... To find and embrace her possibilities and her love, she had to begin to change her mind: she became: "What are you running from me for? I am so beautiful!"
All of the places in which we have been hurt, perhaps even broken, those are the very places in which the Divine Light can both enter and then shine, in and through us. The ecstasy which is possible begins and ends with our identification with Love: with all that is true, good, noble, and kind: for this we have each come into existence: for this we have each been summoned from nothingness into the wonder of "being human"... Oh, perhaps you are wondering about the Icon I chose to illuminate these words? In my thinking, Mary was the one praying "I need a miracle" and "I just want to love"... and the Holy One heard her cry and answered (as the Divine always does) "Me too!" And Yeshua clinging to Mary's breast and later preaching in the fields, weren't his words all about "Look! I give you a miracle! Love one another as I have loved you!" And, of course, our everyday ecstasy is now attuned to that One Love, so we say and do in every way possible, "Me too!"
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.