In the book, Power of Myth, Bill Moyers asked Joseph Campbell if he was a man of faith. Joseph Campbell answered, “I don’t have to have faith. I have experience.”
Faith can be powerful and has been called the evidence of things not seen. Experience, however, is seeing for yourself. Seeing is believing. On the spiritual path, we are always encouraged to get the experience for ourselves, and do the work that it takes in order to have the experience. Once we have the experience, there is no longer any question involved. We’ve gone beyond faith, beyond belief. Now we know.
Years ago I got the same message from the same passage from two different sources in the same day. First I heard it in from Joseph Campbell, perhaps the greatest mythologist ever, in an interview with Bill Moyers. Then I saw it in the Movie Stigmata. It came from the Thomas Gospel, dug up in 1945. It is an ancient text reported by many scholars to be the closest to the original words of Jesus. The words were absolutely fascinating and changed my life.
The people were asking Jesus “when will the kingdom come, this kingdom of heaven you are talking about?” Jesus replied “the kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth but men do not see it.” I said “wait, spread upon the earth.” Up until this point I thought Heaven was when I was in deep meditation, traveling deep within, seeing magnificent sights. But now I was being challenged to see my whole world as Heaven. Always loving a spiritual challenge. I decided to put it to the test.
I looked for the good everywhere I went. Even if a situation was bad to me initially, I began to ask” how is God and The Universe trying to hook me up in ways that I can’t see at the moment?” As I leaned into this idea more and more, my whole world changed. I looked for harmony everywhere I went. In time I could see how things were magically put together, just for me. As I went through my days I would talk to God in my mind asking questions and wait to see the answers show up in my world. Some days I would thank God and the Universe for anything I could think of. The tire not going flat on the way to get my kids from school, anything! My life became a daily adventure to see how many ways could I see my world as Heaven. Within a short period of time my whole world changed. I had more money, a great relationship, I loved my house, the kids loved the house, my kids were happy, I was happy, I was finally writing my first book, I was on a spiritual high. This was just after my second divorce. It could have been a depressing time, instead, it was a whole new wonderful beginning.
My theme for this week is the magic and mystery of work. I guess before I go any further I should explain what I mean by having a theme for the week. Long ago I discovered that my
lessons seem to come in waves and one particular lesson may last for a week or longer. Sometimes it turns into a month or
even a year. Whatever that deep spiritual lesson in my life at the time is, it seems to keep showing up everywhere I go. Not only does it show up everywhere I go but it takes me deeper and deeper into a a sort of mystical understanding of whatever the subject matter is. During these adventures I find myself more at one with my world and the universe on account of the incredible ways the same information keeps showing up everywhere. As I started out saying my theme has shifted to the magic and mystery of work.
Early yesterday morning my mom, Brenda Toodle and I were talking. The conversation
went into what is the next move for her in terms of happiness and self-expression. Whenever such things come up I think about ways of giving and ultimately work. More than I think about the money, I reflect on the sense of giving and being alive. Later that morning I spoke to my mom, Aleatha Kimbrough. I am one of the truly blessed who has two moms and two dads. Anyway, back to my story. Mom Aleatha and I talked about retirement and how we must find purpose in life after retirement. If we don’t achieve this, in my opinion, we either die early or die while still living.
Later that morning I saw Cheryl, one of the members of our meditation group, at a meditation meeting. She had a blue book with her written by my param guru, Dr. Thind. This was unusual so I asked her about it. She said she wanted to read a passage from it during the meeting. After my lecture Cheryl talked about having trouble finding joy in her work, and how the passage in the book reminded her that she must find joy in the work itself and not in the outcome and outer rewards of the work. Last night, which is still the same day of course, I found myself watching the Oprah Winfrey Network. Oprah is interviewing George Lucas, the man behind Star Wars. He was talking about work and saying that you have to follow your bliss. He reminded me of his mentor Joseph Campbell, the master mythologist, as he talked. Just like Joseph Campbell, George Lucas also said that it can’t be about making money. You must work because you love what you do, to truly be happy. You must follow your bliss. This morning when I woke up I found myself thinking about work and my place in this world. I opened up a book by Russell Simmons, Super Rich, and he was talking about transitioning from doing work for money and survival to work you do simply to give. As I thought about all the information coming my way, I realized the magic of work is my theme for now and decided to be open to all it has to bring me. In the next couple posts I will elaborate on memories and discoveries in this area. For now I will leave you with this. Your work is your way of giving to the world. Even if you think you don’t like your work if you shift to thinking of it as giving and serving, the work will seem different. One more note. If you are still here, your work is not done. You still have some sort of work to do, something else to give. Get busy.