Experience Oneness with the Divine and Light Up the World
On the publication of her first book, Larry Dossey, MD, author of Prayer Is Good Medicine, wrote: "Martella-Whitsett is a wise guide."
Her new book makes the audacious claim that each of us can be "the light of the world" Jesus instructed his followers to be. Martella-Whitsett offers a path for living a deep and authentic life outside of the strictures of traditional religious categories. A refreshing approach, in essence, on how to be spiritual without being religious.
We need to jettison the idea of a God who is out there and above us. God is not a super-human who gives and takes, punishes and rewards. God does not require human suffering and repentance.
We truly find God when we go inside to connect with divine light, realize our oneness with God and others, and let our light shine in the world. Martella-Whittset looks at what "divine light" is and how it is both audacious and normal to claim it for ourselves. Next she introduces us to 12 spiritual powers we can all develop and learn to use on a daily basis: faith, understanding, will, imagination, zeal power, love, wisdom, strength, order, release, and life itself. When we consciously shine our spiritual powers on ourselves, not only are our lives improved, but all of humanity can be enriched and transformed.
Let your light shine!
|Publisher:||Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Linda Martella-Whitsett is an ordained Unity Minister and speaker. She has studied and taught extensively about meditation, spiritual counseling, transformational facilitation, yoga and stress reduction and other New Thought principles. She lives in San Antonio with her husband and children.
Read an Excerpt
Dare to be the Light of the World
By Linda Martella-Whitsett
Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Linda Martella-Whitsett
All rights reserved.
YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth and thick darkness the peoples, but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
In December 2012, Kenyan Abel Mutai was about to win a cross-country race in Navarre, Spain. Just behind him ran Spanish athlete Ivan Fernandez Anaya, for whom a win would mean a place on the Spanish team for the European championships. Anaya was surprised when Mutai came to a stop ten meters short of winning, mistaking his stopping point for the finish line. Anaya caught up with his competitor and astonished onlookers when, instead of taking advantage of Mutai's mistake, Anaya guided Mutai forward to win the race.
Belleville, Michigan business owner Bob Thompson sold his road building company in July 1999. When the deal was done, he notified his 550 employees that they would share in the $128 million proceeds. Thompson gave hourly workers generous amounts, in many cases exceeding their annual pay. He presented salaried workers, who had no pensions, $1 to 2 million each in certificates available upon their retirements. To ensure they received the full million or more, he also paid the taxes on their windfalls. Bob's rationale? "I wanted to go out a winner and I wanted to go out doing the right thing."
Kyle Maynard has competed in wrestling and mixed martial arts, set records in weight lifting, and reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro—all without forearms and lower legs. Kyle was born with a congenital quadruple amputation. An inspiring author, athlete, and motivational speaker, Kyle encourages wounded warriors to stretch beyond physical limitations and achieve their goals. Kyle's mantra, and book title, is No Excuses.
Many years ago, a young woman, Chloe, was approaching death from the ravishing effects of multiple myeloma, cancer of the plasma cells within bone marrow. Chloe was in excruciating pain. As her minister, I visited Chloe hours before she died. I walked into her hospital room just as a few other friends were departing and a nurse was closing the blinds on the window next to Chloe's bed. I heard Chloe tell the nurse, in a whisper, "Please leave the blinds open." Overcome by the feeling of love and caring in the room, I said to Chloe, "How loved you are! This is your work right now, to let yourself be loved." Despite heavy medication and her body's agony, Chloe glowed like the sun and her eyes pierced my heart as she replied, "No. I am not here to be loved. I am here to be love."
Biographies of the greats—you know their names, Gandhi, King, Mother Teresa, Mandela—thrill us. Their relentless pursuit of justice and human dignity motivate us to treat others as equals. Their leaps over hurdles and their tenacity in the face of adversity stir us to be braver. Our larger-than-life heroes change the world. They display divine audacity. So did these four: Ivan Fernandez Anaya, Bob Thompson, Kyle Maynard, and Chloe, whose last name I do not recall.
What Is Divine Audacity?
Divine audacity is bold spiritual living, living under the radical premise that I AM divine. My nature is one with divine nature or GOD. I am able to boldly express the highest spiritual principles in the middle of everyday situations. I am courageously responsive. I am fearlessly self-reflective and self-corrective. I am intentional in large and small aims. I valiantly champion the goodness within myself and within each person I encounter. I hold myself accountable for thoughts, words, and actions that are in integrity with my Divine Identity. I dare to ignore the way things are and what cannot be done, bringing about the seemingly impossible. I suspend belief in the limitations that seem inherent in human existence to stretch beyond my known capacity. I disregard appearances to hold a vision of what can be so steadily that it must manifest. I overlook history, deriving my sense of direction instead from the source of life, love, and wisdom. I am not crushed by the weight of my commitments; rather, I passionately fulfill my sense of purpose. I uphold the world, all beings, and all intentions in the light of magnificent possibilities. I lift up rather than tear down. I believe in the inherent goodness of all people.
With divine audacity, I AM the light of the world, shining brightly. In my presence, others remember their Divine Identity. In my presence, others heal the illusion of separation. In my presence, others stand tall and behave humanely; they snap back from self-pity and self-derision to claim their spiritual capacities. In my presence, others sense, and act from, their essential goodness. In my presence, others come home to themselves, to the Self that is not their personality but their Divine Identity.
You don't have to be a superhero to express divine audacity. You don't have to be a superstar, or a super-anyone. You only have to attune to your essential nature, which is goodness, or GODness, and follow its lead in all things. Divine audacity is not reserved for life-or-death situations or singularly religious matters. Divine audacity is relevant in the nitty gritty situations we face every day.
Divine audacity is displayed by your open-hearted relative who dares to remain connected with you, reminding you of your inherent value when everyone else in your family has shunned you.
Divine audacity is displayed by the merciful parent of a murdered child who courageously asks for leniency in punishment of the offender.
Divine audacity is displayed by someone who wholeheartedly disagrees with another's point of view but champions the other's right to her viewpoint and seeks to understand.
Divine audacity is displayed by the aspiring musician who, knowing she stands little chance but that she must make music, auditions along with hundreds of contenders for twelve slots in the orchestra.
Divine audacity is uncommon valor in the midst of common human circumstances. The petite mother who lifts a 4,000-pound automobile to rescue her child pinned underneath it later exclaims, "I don't know where the strength came from, but it was the only way to save my child."
Engaging films and television shows portray characters navigating common human circumstances. Our fascination with them, I believe, stems from their relatability. The tension in such stories arises from a character's dilemma: Shall I behave honorably or dishonorably; shall I tell the truth or lie; shall I lift up or tear down?
A running story last season on the NBC show Parent-hood involved Kristina Braverman's internal integrity struggles during her contest for public office. Kristina's opponent stooped to character denigration and innuendo. Kristina strove to take the high road, holding her tongue even though she could have revealed information that would have derailed her opponent's campaign. Kristina lost the election, but I imagine I was not the only viewer who sensed she was the real winner.
Divine audacity is fearless overcoming of only-human tendencies in order to do, or say, the right thing: that which unifies, harmonizes, strengthens, or uplifts. With divine audacity, you dare to be the light of the world.
What Does It Mean to Be the Light of the World?
"You are the light of the world." Jesus' audacious statement reveals a truth embedded within a metaphor common in his day that still remains applicable today. Let's examine light in Judeo-Christian tradition.
Metaphors about light, related to GOD and humanity, are prevalent in scriptures of every tradition. The ancient Hebrew word owr, translated "light," appears 123 times in the Hebrew scriptures constituting the Christian Old Testament, King James Version (KJV). In the New Testament, also KJV, the Greek work phos translated "light" appears 70 times. A few sentences into the first book of Genesis, we read that light was established by GOD, the source of light: "Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness" (Genesis 1:3–4).
Although many Christian denominations interpret the Bible literally, Jewish tradition and modern scholarship explain that the characters, stories, statements, and chronicles contained in the Bible were not intended to portray historical accuracy or be taken literally. They were written by ancient Middle Eastern people for whom metaphor was a valid means of communicating truths. Therefore, we read of a God that acts much like a human, at times a superhuman. In this early account of creation, the Source, GOD, brings light into being.
In scripture, the literal meaning of light is conveyed in many passages, but in many others the word light is used figuratively. Light connotes a nonmaterial quality of being and conveys intelligence, consciousness, and understanding:
The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory (Isaiah 60:19).
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? (Psalms 27:1).
The Hebrew word for Jehovah, translated in these scriptures as Lord, means "the self-existent one." Think of Jehovah, or Lord, as the I AM or spiritual consciousness at the heart of you and me. The I AM is our Divine Identity, our unity with the Source. The I AM is our eternal beingness. This spiritual consciousness arose most notably in the character of Jesus, the central figure in the New Testament. Jesus is equated with GOD, with I AM, with light. Therefore, Jesus becomes known as the light of the world.
Stunningly, Jesus does not regard himself alone as the light. He acknowledges GOD is the origin of the light, the Father of Lights, and he recognizes himself as GOD's light. He also says to you and me:
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14–16).
In this radical statement of Jesus, revealing to you and to me that we have the same Christ nature as he, Jesus is astute about the science of light. Light is visually perceived radiant energy. Light makes the invisible visible; the unformed formed; the hidden revealed; the unknown known. Just as Jesus' life as the Christ, the anointed one, displayed visible evidence of his invisible Source, Jesus suggests that you and I, too, are anointed. Our light is from the Source, and we are capable of shining for all the world to see. Jesus further remarks, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (John 9:5). Again, Jesus emphasizes that his purpose is to display visible evidence of the invisible Father, or Source, while living humanly.
Jesus' purpose in his day is your purpose and my purpose in ours. To be the light of the world, we plug into the Source, or One Mind, or GOD and derive from the Source our spiritual capacities that we express in common human circumstances. We attune to love, the power of unity, which leads in our conversation with a contentious coworker. We attune to strength, the power of tenacity, which pours forth from within us to persist in the face of seeming obstacles. We attune to imagination, the power of vision, which guides our hopes and dreams for the future.
Love, strength, and imagination are some of the innate spiritual capacities addressed in part two. But to be the light of the world, we must first acknowledge the light, admit the light, and allow the light.
Acknowledge the Light
Best-selling author Martha Beck once described a moment of profound spiritual awareness she experienced while undergoing a surgery. She saw a ball of light expanding to fill the space around her, explaining that she saw this in an otherworldly way beyond her material sense of sight. The light flowed into her body, saturating her and leaving her feeling "only the vivid, drenching, infinite presence of love and peace and joy" (Leaving the Saints, 102–3).
All That Is. Oneness. GOD. Divine Unity. Great Spirit. Source. One Mind. Whatever words we use to describe the indescribable power underlying life, this One is the source of light and our great resource. It is not a personality. It is a power. The power.
The Secret Book of John, aka The Apocryphon of John, is a noncanonical scripture found along with others in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945. Early in the text, John is enraptured with a vision of his teacher, Jesus, who is describing the One. In four hundred words of ecstatic poetry, John records a dazzling description of the indescribable One. In part:
The One rules all.
Nothing has authority over it.
It is the God.
It is Father of everything
The invisible one over everything.
It is uncontaminated
Pure light no eye can bear to look within.
The One is the Invisible Spirit.
It is not right to think of it as a God or as like God.
It is more than just God ...
It is absolutely complete and so needs nothing.
It is utterly perfect
Producing life ...
("The One," The Secret Book of John, 139–40)
Light is symbolic of divine illumination, the divine light we are by virtue of our oneness with the Source. Describing GOD as the source of light and acknowledging the light within us are resonant themes in religious writings of every tradition in every age. In Chandogya Upanishad 3:13:7, we learn "The light that shines above the heavens and above this world, the light that shines in the highest world, beyond which there are no others—that is the light that shines in the hearts of men" (Burke, "The Light Within").
Raised Roman Catholic, which I understood to be the only true religion, I was introduced to Buddhism in my eighth grade religion class. I found it fascinating, completely different from anything I had learned before, and plausible. It was the first time I ventured beyond what I had known about GOD and about myself, and I liked it. Another six years would pass before I was introduced to Ernestine, at age nineteen. Ernestine taught my aunt palmistry and other intuitive arts. I attended an ESP course with Ernestine, during which I experienced myself in past lives and developed a tentative trust of my intuition. I was nervous, however, because the kind of inner attunement Ernestine promoted was drastically at odds with my childhood faith.
One night, while driving home from a class session after dark, I was pondering whether this new endeavor was a good idea. Fervently I asked GOD, in my heart, if this training was good for me, and if it was for good, to show me a sign. Immediately—the thought had hardly formed in my mind—a shooting star (the first and only shooting star I have yet seen) dropped out of the sky and ran down my back. I felt a jolt of surging energy that landed at the base of my spine and then traveled back up into my heart. I was steeped in overwhelming joy and flooded with incomprehensible love. I had to pull my car over to the side of the road and stop.
That power was linked to me. I had called it forth. I realized, palpably, that the power beyond comprehension is within me; it is inexplicable yet real. It is my source.
Admit the Light
Chances are you can point to a few mystical moments of your own as indicators of your oneness with the Source. People tell me about their inexplicable, practically indescribable encounters, oftentimes confessing they had never before told anyone. They feared being misunderstood. I believe that visitations from saints and angels, physiological responses to Source energy, and phenomena experienced in response to our demand are not acts from a superhuman deity looking down upon us with pity or love. Rather, they are reminders of our innate power that is one with the One, or Source. Think about this: Your acute awareness of your ill friend's wholeness, your daring demand for clarity, or your pressing need for justice stirs the power within you. Your urgency broadcasts an SOS, but to whom or to what? If you believe in a deity that is separate and apart from you, you are likely to presume that this deity hears your prayers and answers by way of divine intervention. What kind of deity, though, would spare one human life but not another, or would rescue you from your crisis while allowing others to suffer?
When you conclude there is only one power, one Source, One Mind, you know you cannot be separate from the One. You recognize that your urgency broadcasts an SOS to you! It says, "Wake up! Pay attention! See what is real!" In that instant, you break through the proverbial hundred thousand veils of illusion to the One Mind in which all things are possible.
Excerpted from Divine Audacity by Linda Martella-Whitsett. Copyright © 2015 Linda Martella-Whitsett. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part 1 You Are the Light of the World
What Is Divine Audacity? 3
What Does It Mean to Be the Light of the World? 5
Acknowledge the Light 8
Admit the Light 11
Allow the Light 18
Be the Light 20
Part 2 Shades of Light-Our Spiritual Powers
All Spiritual Abilities Share One Source 26
All Spiritual Abilities Are Inherent 27
All Spiritual Abilities Must Be Directed 28
Consciousness Is Pivotal 30
Realize the Infinite Self 31
1 The Light of Faith-The Power of Perception, Conviction, and Expectancy 37
Meditation for Faith 46
Practices to Cultivate Faith 47
2 The Light of Understanding-The Power of Comprehension, Realization, and insight 49
Meditation for Understanding 58
Practices to Cultivate Understanding 59
3 The Light of Will-The Power of Choice, Commitment, and Willingness 61
Meditation for Will 73
Practices to Cultivate Will 74
4 The Light of Imagination-The Power of Conception, Vision, and Embodiment 77
Meditation for Imagination 88
Practices to Cultivate Imagination 89
5 The Light of Zeal-The Power of Enthusiasm, Audacity, and Devotion 91
Meditation for Zeal 101
Practices to Cultivate Zeal 102
6 The Light of Power-The Power of Concentration, Self-Mastery, and Authority 105
Spiritual Authority 116
Meditation for Power 118
Practices to Cultivate Power 119
7 The Light of Love-The Power of Magnetism, Harmony, and Unity 121
Meditation for Love 131
Practices to Cultivate Love 132
8 The Light of Wisdom-The Power of judgment, Discernment, and Intuition 135
Meditation for Wisdom 143
Practices to Cultivate Wisdom 144
9 The Light of Strength-The Power of Stability, Courage, and Tenacity 147
Meditation for Strength 156
Practices to Cultivate Strength 157
10 The Light of Order-The Power of Organization, Adjustment, and Evolution 159
Meditation for Order 171
Practices to Cultivate Order 172
11 The Light of Release-The Power of Cleansing, Renunciation, and Repentance 175
Meditation for Release 183
Practices to Cultivate Release 184
12 The Light of Life-The Power of Animation Vitality, and Presence 187
Meditation for Life 197
Practices to Cultivate Life 199
Part 3 How to Be the Light of the World, Moment by Moment
One Divine identity. Many Powers 201
Wear Rose-Colored Glasses 206
Practice Makes Progress 212
Dare to Discover More 213