You Know the Way: The Torch in the Golden Room

 

Jesus said, “You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Teacher, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”  (John 14:4-5)

You know the way.  You know the way to the place that Jesus was trying to help humanity reach, the realm of God on earth, a society that lives by the Golden Rule, love of neighbor and compassion for the vulnerable and oppressed.

Maybe you can’t envision how our current society could possibly get there, how big business and the super-wealthy and the governments they try to control could be transformed, or even how individual hearts could rise above the base selfishness that too often drives our thoughts, words and actions.

But Jesus is right, you do know the way, and the secret of how our society can get there is waiting within you.

The 2016 film Arrival imagines [Spoiler Alert!] that an advanced civilization visits earth with spacecraft scattered around the globe.  They have the ability to see the future and realize that they are going to need human assistance in 3000 years.  They have come to help humanity move to a new level of consciousness and oneness so that life on earth will survive.

An American linguist is trying to understand their message.  The turning point comes when the higher beings say essentially the same thing that Jesus told his followers: you know the way.  (You can watch the scene below.)  Like Jesus, they have taught her a new way to see and think, a consciousness that enables her to solve intuitively the problems that are keeping humanity from evolving and becoming one.

The film reflects reality.  A higher being is trying to help us do the same things.  Our higher being is the Spirit of life that has taught the human race many times before how to evolve and work together as one.  That Spirit desperately wants the life it has created to learn how to live sustainably and harmoniously, without hurting other lives and without destroying the life-support systems of earth.

This higher being is the Spirit that Jesus had in him, and the Spirit he said we each have in our depths.  Jesus listened to the Spirit in his heart and it led him to his vocation, which was in part to teach the rest of us how to find the Spirit in our own hearts, and how to live by the guidance and power we find there.

Humanity has brought itself to the brink of its own extinction, but at the same time it has arrived at the brink of the evolutionary shift it needs in order to survive.  We are learning to listen to the Spirit.  Cynthia Bourgeault says in her book, The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice, that we are now making a transition to a new level of consciousness, traveling an ancient path by means of an abundance of new methods in a “sudden awakening to…interiority.”

She writes, “Whether through psychotherapy, men’s work, AA, yoga, mindfulness for stress reduction, enneagram work, dream work, soul work, or a host of other modalities, contemporary men and women are awakening to the realization that life is indeed an inner journey as well as an outer one.” (p. 173)

The Life Planning movement is another in the long list of ways that we are learning to hear the higher being’s voice in our hearts.  A trained Life Planner acts like a spiritual director or friend who listens empathically to help us explore and discover what the spirit is calling us to do with our life.  The end result is a vision of our calling spelled out in detail.  Life Planning calls that vision statement a “torch.”

We each have a place within us where we find the presence and gifts of the Spirit, a “Golden Room.”  We each have a torch in that golden room that shows us the path that the Spirit is calling us to take in the next stage of our life to contribute our part to a healthy, harmonious earth.

The future of the world depends on us each turning to the light of the torch in our golden room and following where it leads.

The Spirit in Jesus speaks for the Spirit in us.  It says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) If you know that Spirit, you know the way.

 

Below are two videos.  The first is the scene toward the end of the film Arrival where the linguist, Louise Banks, finds her torch in her golden room with the help of a “heptapod” higher being.  The second is a fascinating analysis of the film’s deeper meaning.

Notes on the first video (more spoilers alert!): Louise has entered for the first time the place where the  heptapods live.  Their twelve spacecraft are about to be attacked by fearful human armies, and in fact one heptapod is dying because of an unauthorized attack in which it saved Louise’s life.  Louise alone understands that the heptapod word translated “weapon” actually means tool or process and is not a threat.  Louise has come to ask the higher beings to send a message to the humans at all twelve sites around the world telling them that the heptapods are on earth to help, and that humanity needs to work together.

 

The “weapon” turns out to be a new consciousness, a new way of being. Louise gains the heart and mind of a heptapod the way the Apostle Paul calls us to have the heart and mind of Christ.  The scriptures and ancient teachings of the Christian tradition accept that our intended destiny is to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” into higher beings who create the realm of God’s love on earth, a society of oneness, justice and peace.  That is our great hope and our great task.

What Is Waiting in Your Golden Room?

by Thomas Cary Kinder

What is waiting in your Golden Room?  A surprise, probably.

Often the EVOKE Life Planning process turns up surprises:

A successful business executive goes through EVOKE to help plan for retirement and uncovers an old secret dream to run a bait and tackle shop, and no one is more surprised than she is at the joy it brings her.

A man uses Life Planning to help plan the next phase of his career, which is to launch a nonprofit to address global poverty, only to discover that before he can undertake any major new enterprise he needs to reconcile with his father.  He is surprised to discover how much that pain is draining his vigor.  He sees how valuable his father’s wisdom and support could be as he confronts the obstacles it will take all his vigor to overcome.  It could delay his launch date, but there is no question he needs to do it.  The Life Planning focuses on how he will go about it, and sets aside exploring the nonprofit path for later.

The first time I went through the EVOKE process I was a pastor who had been overworking for years and was on the brink of total burnout.  My Life Planner was the Yoda of all Life Planners, but even he could not help me get through my exhaustion, bitterness and hopelessness to find the light in my heart’s core.  We flailed around in impenetrable shadow until finally I nearly screamed that I just wanted to run away to a cabin in the woods and have everyone leave me alone.

Surprise!  I am writing in that cabin now, where I have come to meditate and write and be rejuvenated many times a week for ten years, thanks to a sabbatical grant from the Louisville Institute and Lilly Endowment that enabled me to build it.

The forest around this cabin has been logged over the years, and there are stump sprouts–clumps of as many as five trees growing in a tight circle around where a tree was cut.  Other trees have fallen and rotted where they lay and a line of trees has sprouted up fed by the rot.

We come to a transition point in our lives and may envision the tree that will rise out of the old life, but other things may need to grow first.  Surprises may pop out of our Golden Room.  We look down and see not a sapling but a vigorous clump of mushrooms, and if that is what we find, that is what we need to do, trusting that either we will discover our greatest fulfillment in this unexpected direction or that this is what the universe or Spirit needs of us now, and it will lead to something else.

The EVOKE Life Planning process calls the light we find in our Golden Room a Torch.  Continue reading