As a little boy I fell in love with the film star Doris Day. I loved her movies, her light lyrical voice pouring forth many memorable songs, totally tantalising a romantic if rather naïve little Paul.
I am very grateful to her for the many happy hours she gave to me in my sometimes bleak childhood. One of her songs that I still often recall was “Que sera, sera,” and a movie clip of it is still available for viewing on the web.
The sentiment of the song is that what will be, will be, that the “future’s not ours to see”, and we just have to take what comes in life and go with it without having any real influence on the events we subsequently encounter along the way; a kind of parallel to the frequently quoted New Age term of “let go and let God” sort it out, we don’t have to do anything much. In an ideal sense, in an already perfectly manifesting world, that is true. Once we have shed all our negative programming, including the considerable guilt we all tend to carry around, released our deeply engrained sense of unworthiness, and are completely functioning in unison with our souls/higher selves or God within, then we are truly in Lao Tzu’s Divine Fountain. Life becomes relatively effortless, purposeful flow: a blissful, paradise of an experience filled with abundance, joy, and wholeness, where all outer worldly activity is directed from the higher wisdom within us and life is a flowing celebration imbued with the love and peace pouring from our hearts.
However, we do have to get there first and on the way learn about ourselves, unfolding the God within us through prayer, short and frequent periods of meditation and learning to manage our thoughts words and actions in the highest most loving and unselfish way we can. We have to become truly aware.
In the unfoldment of that deeper awareness, we discover many, many things about ourselves, not least that the way things are at this moment in our lives is not essentially the result of some capricious divinity handing down to us a stream of sometimes seemingly unfair challenges, but rather the consequence of our own thoughts words and actions during this life and hundreds if not thousands of lives or visits here over time. For us to get back to that perfect flowing life, we have not only to undo the limiting mental structures that we have acquired but also use our will to observe life, to develop our thinking constructively and take whatever actions are necessary to begin the journey home to our true selves, accepting the opportunities that come our way as we attract them into our outer experience. We have to become alert, courageous, willing sometimes to take what may appear to be risks and to be open to the inevitable change we must engage with sooner or later. For a life to be better things have to change, we have to change. Certainly, there is no place for passivity, for accepting what will be will be without taking creative action to improve things. Acceptance and learning is one aspect of the process, but simply sitting back and saying “if it is meant to happen it will happen” is a seriously flawed stance that is often an excuse for procrastination, a fear of change, and an unwillingness to think and act creatively. Such an attitude suggests a misunderstanding of the human condition, our divine potential, sometimes being a denial of responsibility for the circumstances we have created thus far and the opportunity they bring to us to take action to put things right. Such an attitude can also reveal an unwillingness to accept help unconditionally, humbly, when that is really what life is prompting us to do.
I am reminded of the old joke in which a ship-wrecked man is floating around in a stormy sea, hanging on desperately to a piece of driftwood. He asks God to save him and God replies that he will. After a time, a helicopter flies overhead and offers to rescue the man but he refuses help as God has promised to rescue him. Later a boat arrives but again he remains in the sea waiting for God to help him. Finally, a submarine rises to the surface, offering to take him on board but again the man refuses waiting for God to do something. Eventually he drowns and upon reaching heaven he meets God and is really furious with God for not saving him as he had promised he would do. “Why did you not do as you promised?” the man shouted. “What kind of a God are you?! You promised to save me and you didn’t!” God sighs, being equally irritated and replies “But I did come to save you. I sent a helicopter, then a boat, a submarine…”
We have been blessed with an amazing facility. At the centre of all of us is the complete essence of divinity – unlimited, loving, wise, and all powerful. This is your soul or higher self, the biblical father within. It can do anything, create anything, heal any ill, knowing no limits to what it can and will do for you, through you. But it is through you that it works its magic. It requires you to think and act in accordance with your highest intentions, based upon love, forgiveness, and the knowledge that through you, your thoughts and your actions anything is possible whether it is enjoying a new car or being a catalyst for world peace. There are no limits. Of course, opportunity may well come to you in a way you are not expecting, as the drowning man discovered, usually through other people who are effectively God’s agents, prompted by their own inner divinity to take action to help you. But come they will. And we learn we cannot do it on our own. That God, or the universe as some prefer to call it, works through others to help us, so long as we put in the request and act accordingly when the opportunity arises and someone comes to our aid.
We must also take the earliest opportunity we can recognise to improve something in our lives, not prevaricate or delay. When discussing this recently with a student on one of my courses, he said, “well if not in this life time I’ll do it in the next.” Not only is such an attitude a little arrogant, telling God, “thanks for the sign and the opportunity, but I’ll deal with it later,” it also reveals a distinct misunderstanding of the law of karma. Each time we delay confronting an issue and the healing of it through our actions we store up a greater problem for later, since karma, or cause-action-effect, is cumulative and in that sense increases its impact as time passes by, gathering more and more energy until we wake up and deal with it, changing and liberating ourselves as we do so.
Whoever or whatever you think he was, Jesus was a true magician. He understood spiritual laws and had gained mastery of them like no other individual since that time appears to have done. He never implied that if it is meant to be, it will happen. He was much more interventionist than that. He encouraged us to ask, to take some action. In the wonderful Sermon on the Mount he enunciates many metaphysical truths applicable to this theme. “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find… for the one who asks always receives” (Matthew 7:7) and he also mentions the kingdom. The kingdom is not a location, like some spiritual 5 star hotel, but a state of consciousness or being, where everything wonderful is possible. “It is the Father’s (Divinity or Universe) good pleasure to give you the kingdom (everything)” (Luke12:22). No limits mentioned here, no delays. It is here now -” the kingdom is among you.”
But perhaps even more interesting, alluding to our creative powers to deservedly do or achieve anything we wish to, he speaks of it clearly:” If anyone says to this mountain, ‘get up and throw yourself into the sea’, with no hesitation in his heart but believing what he says will happen, it will be done for him… everything you ask for in prayer, believe that you have it already and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:23). When the storm got up, frightening the disciples he intervened and calmed it.
So, we take whatever action is necessary that we can take and we ask. We believe or keep a strong thought in our minds (a belief being a powerfully held thought we accept), and use our will to change that which we wish to change. What a gift we have at our disposal: we believe, we love and forgive, take action, trusting the divinity within us and “all things will be added unto us”. We are not simply passive victims, subject to the whims of an uncontrollable fate which may or may not bring our dreams and hopes of a more wonderful world to pass, deciding for itself what is meant or not meant to be. We are active, creative beings, continually forming our outer worlds, and, at any time, we can change and improve them at our will, with the full help of the God within.
As a fellow student, walking the path with many of you, making lots of mistakes and trying to learn and put right what I can, I have to say “I’m sorry Doris. I still love you and your beautiful songs, but there’s no room for “Que sera, sera” here.”