Developing The Power Of Strength, Vol. 2
In his book, Living Originally, Unity minister, teacher, and author Robert Brumet asks, "When you hear the word chaos, what do you think of? ....Confusion? Turmoil? Danger? What if you were to see it as an opportunity?"
Believe it or not, dear friends, we were all born from chaos. Chaos comes from the Ancient Greek word, khaos, meaning "emptiness," "abyss," or the "primordial void" that precedes creation. The Tohu wa-bohu (Hebrew: "formless," "void") mentioned in Genesis just before the Creative Power and Presence "said" "Let there be light!" (Gen 1:3) Yet there is order within that chaos, you see. There is so much wonder and mystery in the Universe, far beyond our capacity to understand it. Why, did you know, that the mathematical probability of your being born (with the same parents, in the body your spirit now occupies, etc.) is over 1 in 400,000,000,000,000 (four-hundred-trillion)??? It is true - you are a living miracle! You are blessed... In the parlance of our times, we're "too blessed to be stressed." So, why do we let ourselves be?
Throughout the Lenten season, which begins with Ash Wednesday (February 17), we in Unity practice letting go. Letting go is not a sign of weakness; rather, it is a display of strength. Chaos, from this awareness, is not something "bad" or something to be avoided; it is an opportunity for transformation.
One of the ways in which we develop our Power of Strength - the second of the Twelve Powers - is to let go of the desire to control, the seeming need to be "right," and embrace the idea that, in all things, in all ways, God Is. So that when events happen around us, we dance, for we are in tune with the rhythm and flow of Life.
Brumet writes, "Dancing with chaos rather than trying to control it will frighten the ego; it undermines the ego’s illusion of control. Letting go feels like loss, and even like death."
The "death" feeling Rev. Brumet describes is the experience we feel when our illusions are dissolved, in favor of a newer, higher, deeper reality, beyond the appearance of what we see, hear, taste, touch, and smell on the surface.
Our ego, when it is challenged, attempts to move us back into those thought patterns, belief systems ("B.S.," as they're often called), and behaviors that do not serve us, but they are "comfortable," because we've grown accustomed to them. Further, as Brumet warns us, the ego can be even more subtle in its struggle to regain control, which the Germans once called Chaoskampf, or "struggle against chaos." We can be fooled into thinking that, through a [likely unconscious] practice of dropping everything, with a kind of nihilistic fatalism, that we'll just "go along to get along," and everything'll "come out all right in the morning." "It is what it is," and so on. Not so!
"Some folks seem to live their life in eternal chaos because they unconsciously create chaos through poor communications, unclear boundaries, or an unwillingness to make responsible choices. They may do this because it feels familiar or it’s a way of manipulating others--or for any number of other reasons. This is not the practice of Dancing With Chaos."
The struggle against chaos, or Chaoskampf, is represented many times in the mythologies and spiritual texts of the world, including the Hebrew Scriptures. It is the eternal battle between the forces of chaos and order. Typically the ego, or our thought of "what ought" and "what ought not," is represented by a reptile, usually a serpent or a dragon; this is the "chaos monster" of old, which needs to be slayed, or otherwise overcome, so that order may be restored. This is what our egos can become, if left unchecked. A metaphysical approach to Scripture, to mythology, and to Life helps us realize that all the characters of the Biblical stories and world mythos, are states of our own consciousness - the heroes, the villains, the monsters: everything. The power lies within our minds to discern (which we'll talk about next month), adjust our thinking, and embrace the opportunity to grow.
So, let go - de-stress, de-compress, and dance! Life is for living! Don't let anything hold you back, especially the ego... Know that God Is living in you, now... God Is ever-seeking to express God-Self through and as you. Live, love, and serve from that awareness.
On a personal note, I'll offer a final bit of "food for thought": When I think of chaos, the "void" that preceded my existence, and everything around me, I no longer see the Universe, or myself, as "something out of nothing." When I think of chaos, I don't think of the "void" as nothingness, absence of substance or element. I think of the One Substance, the One Power, the One Presence, the One. And of course, in the Kabbalah, there is the Yesod hapashut, or the simple element, in which "everything is united as one, without differentiation". That's what I think of when I think of chaos.
Join us at Unity of Columbus this Sunday, either in our safe, socially-distanced space, or via our Livestream on Facebook and YouTube. We look forward to seeing you!
Have a wonderful, wonder-FILLED, week!
Daryn L. Wells