Golden Opportunities

    Sanford Baran:  My birthday was about a month ago and I am appreciating the many benefits that come with getting older. One particular perk that I have just started to take advantage of here in Boulder is the University of Colorado's 'Senior Auditor' program. Anyone who is a resident of Colorado and has reached senior citizen status can enroll in many of the thousands of courses that the university offers for a very modest fee. Considering the cost of higher education these days, this is an exceptionally good deal—not to mention the excellent opportunity to touch into the world of university life, a community that has an influential presence in town. And for me this is more than just about studying and learning things. It also presents an opportunity to meet and engage with faculty and fellow students, allowing the natural currents of curiosity and unbiased enquiry to permeate our interactions together. It certainly will be interesting, possibly challenging to be surrounded all of a sudden with so many young adults and finding ways to connect in a meaningful way. I guess it never hurts to step outside of our comfort zone and stretch our capacities. I keenly look forward to seeing how it all unfolds.

    We all have our own unique set of circumstances each of which provides an opportunity for our vibrational presence and radiant expression to be known and have an integrating influence. Now we might think that such influence is strictly limited to the particular circumstance that we happen to be handling. It certainly does that, but actually the radiant current doesn't just stop there—it flows much further afield blessing other aspects of the creative field along the way. How far does such radiant action extend? Let's just say that any action that springs forth from what is genuine, actions that are honorable, noble and true—they will have a positive integrating influence not only locally but also will be beneficial to the overall well-being of the whole. Indeed, our actions do have consequences, probably more wide reaching than we might have imagined.

    Perspective is so important. That is why it is critical to have some appreciation and personal connection to what I would call the big picture. Not that we need to be thinking about it all of the time, but it is something that is useful to have close by in consciousness. Human beings have relatively limited abilities of observation. For example, even with the most powerful of telescopes and other sophisticated technical gear, we really have very little direct experience and understanding of what lies beyond our home here on earth. And yet in our hearts we really do have a sensing that something very large and vast is operationally present, something truly magnificent, both visible and invisible. This provides an essential starting point as we realize that what has loomed so large in consciousness like our day-to-day affairs, stories in the news, any number of modern-day annoyances—in comparison to what is going on throughout the entirety of the cosmos—all of this so-called important stuff of daily life is so miniscule it barely even registers, not even the tiniest of blips. Indeed, having a sensing of the largeness of it all really does put everything into perspective.

    Speaking of the big picture, the course that I'm auditing is called "Modern Cosmology." Here is the description. "Cosmology is the oldest science and addresses the biggest questions that exist." I like it already! And isn't this right up our alley? In our Sunday gatherings we also address the biggest questions that exist. "Humans have wondered 'where did we come from?' since the dawn of time. In this class we will discuss the origin and structure of the universe and what its eventual fate will be." (I better make sure I go to class that day!) "Cosmology is a scientific as well as philosophical subject and I encourage you to think big." I also would add 'is a spiritual subject.' What's not to like about this course; it should be fascinating.

    I agree, think big! Think big and also live in the world, being responsible stewards, attending to those things in our care. It is interesting though—on the one hand the details of daily life just on their own are not all that remarkable in the grand scheme of things. But how we handle these details is what gives them significance. Increasingly I think of circumstances as gifts—golden opportunities which inspire us to express heavenly qualities like nobility and fineness of character. In doing this we release into the world something of supreme value, Spirit in action. How blessed we are by our circumstances and in gratitude we offer an uplifting current back as part of the returning cycle.

    As our connection to the big picture strengthens, one thing that becomes apparent is how inclusive it all is. From the standpoint of the divine, everything is included—nothing is left out. This is in stark contrast to the way human nature thinks about this. From its perspective, the more exclusive the better. It's funny how the word exclusive has now attained a certain cachet in the zeitgeist—implying something glamorous, sophisticated and tasteful. Missing from that picture is some of the unflattering implications of the word like clannish, selfish, snobbish, aristocratic and discriminatory. The fact is, exclusivity is nothing more than the human ego putting itself up on a pedestal, demanding that it be recognized as something really special, as something elite and in a class of its own. Unfortunately, this sometimes plays out as a need to diminish others so as to superficially elevate one's own sense of worth and self-esteem.

    I like Groucho Marx's take on all of this, "I would never want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member!"

    I think it is obvious that this need to feel "special" is not only misguided but ironically unnecessary, because after all what could be more special and fulfilling than being alive and getting to play one's part in this extraordinary living cosmos. Indeed, as far as the creative process is concerned everything and everyone is included whether they are aware of it or not. Even those still very much caught up in the world of human nature—they absolutely are included.

    So, it is never a matter of the creative field excluding us. If there is a feeling of being excluded it is because we have excluded ourselves. We have done this by refusing to orient to what is real, rejecting the truth of who we are. But there comes a point of total yielding, of total acceptance where we realize that not only are we very much included but in fact urgently needed to get the job done. How wonderful to reach this point in ourselves and thoroughly embrace our rightful place in the big picture. Interestingly, as we do accept Life's invitation to be included, we begin to more easily recognize that others are equally included and also have a vital part to play. There is a new-found sense of fellowship and genuine appreciation for the gifts that others bring—a shift in atmosphere and demeanor that welcomes those who we encounter and celebrates our work together.

    In a few weeks I will officially become a member of the Board of Directors at the radio station where I volunteer. The Board has overall responsibility for governance, long term goals and setting the right tone for the numerous functions and operations that occur in this mostly volunteer organization. One of the areas that has been identified as needing improvement relates to this area of inclusion, particularly amongst our corps of volunteers. How do we instill a greater overall spirit of inclusion station-wide, such that there is a genuine welcoming of everybody, a greater sense of collegiality regardless of the particular roles that volunteers happen to have taken on? I certainly notice unconscious and probably unintentional exclusionary tendencies. For example, the Board and committee members tend to spend a lot of time among themselves. The music DJs are a fairly independent bunch and they mostly are in solo mode. The folks on the news side often congregate in small teams. And then there are the many other volunteers who work the phones during fund drives, stuff envelopes, staff booths at our various community outreach events and do so many other support tasks. Each of these different groupings of people are doing great work but they tend to be siloed, which doesn't exactly inspire people to go out of their way to welcome one another and vibrationally cultivate more of a culture of inclusion and collegiality. This is something that the Board will be trying to tackle over the next number of months. I look forward to playing my part in all of this, taking it to heart personally—reaffirming my own acceptance of Life's invitation that has been generously extended to me and thus will be proactively looking for opportunities to vibrationally invite others. I can imagine doing little things like introducing myself to those I don't know, sharing a conversation in the hall, developing a connection—and in the process conveying the essence that they too are very much included, not only at the radio station but farther afield as well, part of the big picture. It's amazing— small little gestures, nothing particularly complicated, can make all the difference. I guess we will see. I look forward to some fun work ahead.

    There are so many rich opportunities for us to actively contribute to the well-being of the whole. It begins as we establish a connection to that which is larger. Maybe at first, it is just this tiniest, faintest sensing that there is a big impressive universe out there and that somehow this involves me. But there comes a dawning awareness that it is not really out there but is actually right here—I'm already in it—I'm included—I am part of that big picture.

    And with that realization our perspective and view of the world radically changes. What might have previously been thought of as tedious repetitive chores and responsibilities—read, "our circumstances"—these now are transformed into golden opportunities. They are golden opportunities because it is through our creative handling of these that we begin to do the real work, releasing the radiance of Spirit to further fuel the engines of creation. And as the creative process does its magic, performs its alchemy, the composition and character of the big picture itself transforms precisely as needed, all to the glory and perfection of the One, that eternal presence from whence everything springs.

    We boldly move forward taking full advantage of the golden opportunities that abundantly come our way. We also acknowledge and appreciate our place on the largest of stages, the big picture, putting what we do divinely into context. Everyone is included so it is on each one of us to accept that invitation and take full responsibility for playing our part in this most wondrous cosmos, the place where we live.

September 2, 2018

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