September 10, 2015
In the “Foreword to the 40th Anniversary Edition” of Eric Butterworth’s spiritual classic, Discover the Power Within You, the esteemed poet Maya Angelou acknowledges her affinity for the compelling idea at the very heart of Butterworth’s teachings. Namely, that “the power of God, the essential spirit, is within each of us.” This idea is also at the heart of what Butterworth would call the greatest discovery of all time, and is essentially the foundation upon which his celebrated metaphysical classic is built.
Early in Discover The Power Within You, he begins drawing distinctions between the “religion about Jesus” and the “religion of Jesus.” In Chapter 3, “The Great Decision,” he writes:
“Jesus did not come to found a new religion….He formulated no creeds. He created no ritual, He developed no theology. The alpha and the omega of His teaching was the Divinity of Man.”
The principle of the “Divinity of Man” was the single, foundational teaching Jesus brought to the planet and to the consciousness of mankind. Everything Jesus taught stemmed from this one Divine Idea. Before Jesus, there was no template that had helped man break down the “middle wall of partition” that had separated man from God. In “Reality,” there was no separation, no “partition” between man and God. However, mankind had created a sense of separation within man’s own consciousness.
Jesus’ “great discovery,” in Butterworth’s words, “may well be the greatest event in human history,” albeit perhaps also the most misunderstood. In the religion about Jesus, attention is almost exclusively focused on the birth of Jesus as the moment in time the “event” occurred.
The story assumes Jesus was born into the world with full consciousness of the Divinity of Man principle. The rest of His story then is merely the unfolding expression of this divine principle in time and over time. Even more so, the traditional story would have it that He was the only one ever that was so divinely endowed, the “only begotten of God.”
Any considerate reading of Jesus’ own teachings would acquit any claim of “special” endowment. In His own words, Jesus plainly stated: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto the Father.” [John 14:12] In my experiences with “traditional” beliefs in the religion about Jesus, this idea is often times where I encountered resistance to my own spiritual unfoldment.
As long as the orientation is on “worshipping” Jesus, meaning focusing on the religion about Jesus as the “only begotten” of the Father, I have found that, even well-meaning Christians, will stop short of their own demonstration of the Christ within, due to the belief that Jesus was specially endowed. In many cases, more fundamentalist orientations have outright viewed any pretense of demonstrating the Christ within as possible blasphemy. In other words, “Who am I to assume that I am the light of the world?”
Yet, this is the core truth in the “religion of Jesus.” I AM the light of the world. So, is everyone else, at least in potential. Jesus is only “special” in the sense that he was the first to demonstrate the Christ Consciousness. In doing so, He also pointed the way for every one of us to follow his example, not for His personal aggrandizement, nor to establish himself as king, but rather so that each of us could connect with and empower our own divine Christ nature within our very own being.
This is the “great discovery” that Jesus demonstrated. The Divine Idea of the Christ, the perfectly realized spiritual man, is within each one of us, including me. The purpose of my life is to explore the “great within” of my own being, to connect with the very same Christ potential that Jesus discovered and demonstrated, so that I might be the Christ in my own uniquely expressed way.
Throughout history, mankind has been exploring the frontiers of the world and the universe around us, expanding our knowledge and developing our capacity to create. Yet, for all the advances we have accumulated over time, the creative potential at the core of the “great within” has barely been tapped. If there is to be an evolution of mankind from the prevailing context of fear that seems to most directly influence the course of human events, then it must spring forth from the frontier that lies within, and not merely a further understanding or exploitation of the frontiers without.
All of this intellectual exercise is worth nothing though, if it is not put into action. It is not enough for me, as a unique expression of the Christ Potential, to merely work out my own understanding. Knowledge without action is ultimately impotent.
It is also not enough to demonstrate my Christ Consciousness by merely praying for world peace, or an end to hunger and disease, or a thousand other maladies I might see in the world at large. The real opportunities for the expression of my Inner Christ arrive each day in the personal encounters I have with those closest to me, or those with whom I energetically come into contact, whether in person or in absentia.
I may not have a world stage. I may not be able to communicate directly with all 7 billion people on the planet. However, I do have way more influence on the condition of the planet than I may consciously hold in my awareness on a moment-to-moment basis. Opportunities arrive in the form of a friend having a bad day and communicating with them in a way that empowers them. Or, we may influence outcomes in an encouraging encounter with a frustrated child attempting to express themselves creatively; in a moment of gratitude and acknowledgement to another for a way in which they have positively influenced your own experience. Each moment of every encounter and experience every day, no matter how large or small, holds a divine opportunity for each of us to dynamically express the limitless potential of our own Inner Christ.
So many of us comb the world in search of a meaningful purpose. We often lead lives of “quiet desperation” fearing we may never find it. The irony of course is that the sole purpose of our lives is to connect with and demonstrate the unique expression of our own Christ Potential. The greatest frontier mankind can ever explore is the Divinity of Man, the “great within.” At the end of the day, this is all that is expected of us in return for the Gift of Life.
Nothing more, but also, nothing less.