Over the years I’ve made many changes in my life—in fact I’m sure we all have a lifetime of changes to talk about. One that came most recent was when the doctor at Mayo Clinic said all signs point to having stopped the progression of the Erdheim Chester Disease. At the time I didn’t realize how huge this was—in fact it wasn’t until a couple of co-workers likened it to Superman stopping a train that I realized this was a lifechanging moment. It once again has me pondering what it takes to make truly lasting change—the type of changes where I consciously choose to show up differently in the world.
Over the years I’ve made some pretty big geographic changes—and my experience each time was just like the story of pouring new wine into an old wineskin. I wasn’t showing up any differently, so no matter where I lived, how I looked or who I knew—no matter how the outer world changed—I was still putting the ‘new me’ into the same thought patterns of the ‘old me.’
For me, in this story the old wineskin metaphysically refers to our consciousness—the energy of our thoughts, feelings and memories—our old wineskin—that we carry with us wherever we go. They consciously and unconsciously inform our actions. The thing is, new wine is wine that is unfermented—it doesn’t have the history. As the wine ferments it will expand—therefore a winemaker puts new wine into a new wineskin that has elasticity. This way there will be no resistance to the natural process of expansion that takes place with fermentation. What happens if you put new wine into an old wineskin that is already stretched to its maximum? It breaks and you loose both the wineskin and the wine.
If we are trying to force a change in our consciousness without transforming the container for perceiving the new experience, the result will be disharmony and disorder—and quite often things seem to become worse than when we started! It really is not a lot of fun to make a big change, filled with new ideas and possibilities, only to find that you’ve recreated the same experience you wanted to get away from in the first place.
It takes an inner change for us to show up differently in our lives. We have to get out of our own way—out of our old wineskin—and allow the higher Truth to guide us in this now moment. There is an affirmation that I’ve been know to use when I find myself dealing with resistance to embracing the now moment. It focuses my energy and helps me to embrace a new wineskin in which new experiences can begin to ferment, unbound by the past. I’ve shared this affirmative statement numerous times in classes and Sunday Lessons–“It’s not about me.” Whatever happens to be going on in my life—it’s not about the small “m” me. It helps me get to that space in consciousness—the container of the new wineskin—where a new way of being is always fermenting.
Many years ago I came across a book by a very well known Christian author—“It’s Not About Me” by Max Lucado—that helped me to gain some new insight around this affirmation—not that I am recommending that you read this book (as quite a bit of it I had to translate into a different understanding than the author intended). In this book he describes what he feels is the path by which we can be “Rescued from the life we thought would make us happy.”
He feels that in today’s society we are trained that the world revolves around us—that we are number one and it is our job to watch out for number one. Success is making a name for ourselves and it is only when we are finally successful that we can find happiness.
He questions what it would be like if a symphony orchestra followed such an approach. Can you imagine an orchestra with an “it’s all about me” outlook? Each artist clamoring over each other for self-expression without any thought of harmony. Who would enjoy participating at any level? Orchestras were not made to be this way, and neither were our lives.
Yet, don’t we tend to live that way? If each of us are thinking and acting as if “it’s all about me”—looking out for ourselves no matter what—what hope is there that we could actually create a melodious experience together? And when we live our life as if we are the center of the universe, where does God fit in?—or maybe the better question is: What would it mean to live a God-centered life? That’s the question I want to live in.
Max Lucado calls for what he defines as a “Copernican shift”—reminding us that “It’s not about me, it’s all about God”—and while my interpretation of what he means when he says God may be a quite a bit different—I completely agree.
Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish astronomer and mathematician who theorized a profound scientific view of the universe—one that was completely rejected in the early 1500’s. His revolutionary idea? That the sun (and not the earth) stood at the center of our solar system. It was centuries later before a spiritual consciousness or new wine skin was developed that could contain this dramatic paradigm shift in thought—even though this new way of thinking was a much more accurate picture of our physical universe.
What would it take to embrace this shift in our spiritual life—to Trust in God as the center of our universe and truly see ourselves as a divine expression—one with all that is and ever shall be?
This is the type of spiritual shift I seek in my life…It’s not about me. Whatever others do or say—whether I might feel myself agreement or disagreement with them…It’s not about me.
So, that leaves the obvious question: What IS it all about? And that’s precisely the point. When I can step into the space that allows me to affirm “It’s not about me”—I choose to make my life about God to see everything as an opportunity to experience God. That’s when spiritual transformation can happen—when I am open to God expressing into being through me.
With change many of us opt to hold back by attempting to fit our new ideas into our old consciousness. That brings disharmony—fear, insecurity, sorrow, stress—into our lives. So what do we do? As Max Lucado says, we “set your bearings on the one and only North Star in the universe—God.”
It seems to me that once I’ve—once we’ve—made the dramatic shift in consciousness that this idea can bring, we can realize that life IS about me being the way of God. It never works for us to try to take control with our one little ego, as if we are the center of our universe. We must always co-operate with Divine Order, with God as the One that unifies and works through all for the highest Good.
Divine Order is the path of the creative process, the path of Spiritual Evolution. When we surrender to this idea, then every perceived mis-step as well as every success will lead us to something better. It is only when we let go of resistance and choose to operate in cooperation with Divine Order that we can experience peace and harmony.
When you make the commitment to accept Divine Order as Truth and begin to see yourself as expressing in alignment with the harmony of the universe, you may want to leave yourself ‘letting go’ reminders. That is what I have found in the affirmation “It’s not about me.” It’s a flag that pops up in my consciousness to remind me that my job is to stand in faith knowing that every experience is unfolding as an expression of Principle, as the Divine Order that underlies all creation.
I’ve also heard others talk about putting sticky notes in various places—such as in their purse, on their rear-view mirror, in their wallet—with simply the two words ‘Divine Order’ written on them. It’s about finding whatever it is that works for you as you learn to trust in a universal Divine Order.
Our grand purpose is to express our Christ potential. It’s quite a divine paradox—we let go of the idea that we are the center of the universe—only to find that everything we experience is all about us—all about our spiritual evolution. As Emmet Fox stated, “Life is a state of consciousness,” and Unity teachings are about changing our own consciousness, about evolving spiritually as we progress in our ability to allow the spirit of God to be expressed within and through our consciousness. Just as Jesus went through a process to develop and fully express his Christ potential, our achievement of Christ Consciousness is the result of the process of spiritual evolution.
I am a Unity Minister—yet these Unity teachings continue to take hold in my consciousness in new ways and at much deeper levels. I am reminded about a passage from scripture—that we must “Agree with thine adversary quickly.” Metaphysically the adversary is not a person or a situation in our lives, it is our reaction to or feelings about it. Resisting the adversary only increases the adversarial energy. Finding ways to nurture an attitude of nonresistance in our consciousness is the only way we can truly have dominion over our experience. Nonresistance is the new wineskin that can contain this expansive new awareness. It is the only way we will change our experience of the world, and we may even change our circumstances.
“It’s not about me” and yet it is. It is all about each of us, individually and collectively, choosing to express our divine nature.
FYI…some of the thoughts in this post were originally developed for Sunday lessons given at Unity Church of Manhattan (Manhattan, KS) and Christ Light Unity (Gresham, OR).