January 26, 2006

We were born to…

Filed under: beanquest — Brian @ 12:29 pm

From Marianne Williamson:

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I found that quote recently (often erroneously attributed to Nelson Mandela) and now I’m reading A Return to Love, the book it’s from. I’m about a quarter of the way through.

So far, I’m not sure what to make of her take on God and Jesus, and the belief that “everything that is not love is an illusion.” But I like some of the imagery she uses, and the underlying theme – which seems to be summarized in the quote above – is pretty exciting.

I do find myself holding back in certain situations – those I now see as places where my bean (my gift, or calling, or whatever) could be active – so as not to make others feel uncomfortable. I do sometimes “play small.” I do not like to call attention to myself, and I will pass up chances to accomplish things if I believe someone else will do a better job (good reason) – or if it fits their formal responsibilities better than mine, even if I know the person isn’t up to it (bad reason).

Lately, this “holding back” is less out of a fear that I’ll annoy someone and more out of an uncertainty about where to focus my effort. Less “they’ll think I’m wierd … I don’t want to step on their toes…” and more “I’m not sure I want to commit to this at the expense of that.” (And “that” is what I’m trying to put a name to, here.)

I am very good at pursuing many things simultaneously. And that’s become hugely unrewarding. What I’m looking for now is a few things to pursue deeply. I’m taking time to rule some large number of things out, and confirm some small number of other things. Which are which? “God only knows.” (So it’s a good thing I’m trying to listen to Him now, huh?)

And what about that opening sentence? What if I am significantly more powerful than I think I am? What responsibilities will I feel compelled to take on then?

“…born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.” ? My goodness. What a task! On some level, that’s one reason I avoided Religion for so many years – I didn’t feel like I had it in me. “I’m just some guy, no better than any other random guy…” And that’s certainly true. But that means that I’m not likely to be any worse either. And – as I watch more carefully – I find that people in general are better than I thought they were.

Why look at the bad ones and say, “I’m no better”?

How about looking at the good ones and saying, “I’m no worse”?

Small steps…

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