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EBUP16: Circle of Light

Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #16

Eric Butterworth Sunday Services — Circle of Light


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We’re going to take some time today to introduce you to what I’m calling The Circle of Light Project from 1991. We had some notes about it in our programs and in our centerpiece and so some of you probably have already familiarized yourself a little bit with what we’re doing.

It all started in a dream. In the vision I had in the dream I saw Avery Fisher Hall perched atop a high hill. It seemed really confusing at first, but there it was sitting on this high hill radiating with light, rays reaching out around the world from this one source. A few days later in a meditation time the project unfolded and it seemed so very right. I remember Jesus’ words, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a lamp and set it under a bushel but on a stand and it gives light to all the house.”

George Lamsa gives a little information about this house that cannot be hid. He says that in that day people in small communities, farming communities and communities for shepherds, the families all stayed in one large community house, many families under one roof. The house was dark all the time because they had no windows in those days. In the house they had their lamps fueled by butter and it was the only way they could see.

There were some families who were too poor to provide the butter so they would be dependent upon the lights of their neighbors so that they could see. Sometimes the neighbors would become a little provoked and irritated and resentful that they were furnishing light for the others who had no light. They tried to put a block up so that the light wouldn’t go over into the other area. Symbolically putting their lamp under a bushel and perhaps even getting under a bushel to do their work so that their neighbors wouldn’t see the light.

This has many meanings. The city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp and set it under a bushel but on a stand so that all around can see. Jesus was symbolically trying to help us to understand that every person is a light unto the world. It’s important that he let his light shine, to keep the light burning, because there are many folks in the world who live in darkness and ignorance and poverty and homelessness. They need a greater light. When we understand our true purpose in life we find that life is a giving process. It’s important that we give and let our light shine.

I had the realization that went along with this vision of Avery Fisher Hall on a hill. We come here every Sunday. Many people feel that there is a great energy that emanates from this place on Sunday when we get together and think together and pray together, sing our closing song together: Let There Be Peace on Earth. There’s a tremendous energy here. I thought that sometimes it may be that inadvertently we have hid our lamp under a bushel.

This energy is a tremendous power. I could see it going forth specifically to various areas of the world that are troubled, in darkness. In the fields of Saudi Arabian desert where we stand perched on the very threshold of a possible war. The tremendous inflationary and recessionary problems here in this country. In decisions in government. The tax burdens that are seemingly inadequate to handle the needs of the communities. People walking in darkness. Fear to walk on the streets because of the crime and the difficult projects that are available everywhere. It’s a very important time to let our light shine to the world.

The logo on the front of the program, if you’re not acquainted with it you might just turn to the program for a moment and look at it. It’s our symbol, has been for a good while. It evolved as the official articulation of a very basic insight into my personal philosophy of truth. A totally supportive universe. As Plotinas says: Rushes in streams and pours into us from all sides while we’re standing quiet. Of course, you have to give way to the universal flow to experience the unfoldment of your good.

But it comes from within. There is a tremendous life healing energy that flows from within us all because we are, after all, spiritual beings. Jesus said, “It’s the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” The good pleasure, the will, the divine desire of the creator to perfect himself in that which has been created. The tremendous power within us working to heal us, to bless us, to direct us. We have to give way. Of course, there’s more involved in this in the teaching, it’s a vital teaching of the works, making it practical for many have been helped and healed, even saved by this process and I’m sure many of you can testify to that.

There’s a tendency in this study of truth to focus on our problems, to presume that the object of truth study is to solve our needs. In our prayers we sometimes say we tend to expect God to hop to our bidding. When someone says we become in our relationships truly divine almost working spiritual slot machines, expecting good things to come out.

Many have made the goal of truth demonstration of their problems. That’s the whole purpose of it because it’s true, you can find prosperity, you can find success, you can increase your physical condition, you can bring harmony into your life and love into your emotions and fulfillment. It all works. But there’s a tendency to make the demonstration of things as the goal of our whole study. We tend to rate our spiritual growth by the size and frequency of our demonstrations. Of course, there’s a weakness in this because as we go along we might find that we’ve pretty well fulfilled the truth in our life and we have modestly manifest success and fulfillment.

The tendency to begin to think: Where do I go from here? What comes next? Sometimes we tend to think that the need is to go deeper into what we call metaphysics. Sometimes we say, “I’m looking for a deeper teaching.” I like Emmet Fox’ statement when he says, “The only advanced teaching is when you begin to do something about the truth we think we already know.” But there is something that we look forward to, something we need.

If you look again at the logo on the program you’ll notice that we’ve changed it a little bit, I call it the maturation of our logo. You’ll notice that in the background is the representation of the world. The logo is now superimposed upon this symbolic representation of the world, indicating that the next step in our quest for truth is to take the power and substance that flows into us, rushes in streams and pours into us from all sides, as Plotinas says, and to give it back to the world. Become an instrument for the outreaching peace and power and love, substance.

You’ll notice that the little man in the center of the logo receives the energy from without, the arrows are pointing into him. Also, if you look at it in another context the arrows are pointing outward. You give back, give out, radiate this love and peace to your fellow creatures, attempting to bring peace and fulfillment and harmony and prosperity to what has been called the global village.

The prime motivation for a person attending a service on Sunday is to be fed spiritually. That’s all right, that’s good. We always hope that you’re satisfied and nourished here on Sunday, but there’s a tendency to overlook the fact that the greater purpose of coming together on a Sunday is to fulfill the role or the idea that life is for giving. We tend to be almost selfish and self-centered of the idea that we come to get something. How important that you have to turn it around to get the idea of giving something.

I have mentioned often the story of the person who attended a Quaker meeting in a Quaker meeting house. He was puzzled by sitting there in the silence for a long period of time, didn’t know what was going on, had no idea what they did there. He leaned over to the man next to him and whispered, “When does the service begin?” The man stoically said, “When the meeting is over.”

I want to think in terms of the actual energy and the fulfillment of this hour on Sunday begins when the meeting is over. It begins when we’ve turned away for a moment from the idea of worshiping God and praising God and giving thanks for good coming into our life through this consciousness of God and begin to project that consciousness to the world.

A story was told of Marconi, the Italian inventor. He began telling everyone that he was going to be the first one to give the secret of wireless broadcasting to the world. They thought he was a brash youngster, how could he possibly know this when men had been working on this for years. “Hey, how can you tell that you will be the first one to give wireless to the world?” “Because all the research up to now has been trying to find a way to overcome the resistance of the sound through the air, the atmosphere. I’ve discovered that there is no resistance.”

Many folks in their religious worship try to overcome the resistance of God. Whether it be praying for peace or praying for healing or praying for help for someone. So often it is, “If it be Thy will Lord.” It is always God’s will, there’s no resistance to overcome. The activity of God is eternal love, life, substance, peace. It’s always working for the positive, the outreaching of light. The problem is not in God and His reluctance to give, but our individual frustration of the divine flow.

When we get involved in praying, I say so often: Understand that the need is not to pray to God. God doesn’t need your prayers. God is too almighty to be dependent upon your love and your worship and your thanksgiving and your support. God is an eternal love that is ever present, evenly present everywhere. We need to express it, radiate it, to give forth into activity. You don’t pray to God, pray from the consciousness of God so your prayer becomes a protection of God power, not a hesitant, hoping, wishing God would do something for us. God has done all He can do. God is peace, not He has peace. God is love, not that He’s got to be loving for us. God is life, not that He will heal. God is. Our need is to express it.

We’re going to emphasize in our Circle of Light project the need to realize the consciousness of light. We’re not going to pray for peace in the sense that we’re not proposing just another group peace prayer project, there are many of those. The weak spot in many such groups is little about the group process. This is the group here this time and something happens when the group gets together. There’s a dynamic that takes place when people are gathered in a consciousness of oneness, because when we’re all here thinking in terms of finding the light of truth for our lives something happens. The group takes on a character of its own, there’s a soul that manifests, the group soul. In other words, the needs and expresses the pluses that come out of our consciousness.

Are we suggesting that there’s a greater concentration of God here because it’s a large group? Is there more prayer power in a group than a person praying alone? The answer to that is in what I call The Unity Principle. The whole of God is present in His entirety in every point in space. God can never be present any more than He already is anywhere. Yet there’s something special about a group. Jesus says, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst.” Not Jesus in the midst, but the mystic power of the I Am in the midst. There I Am in the midst.

There are good works in the consciousness of unity, oneness. There’s a cosmic power which I call the power of the swarm. Visualize a school of fish. You’ve seen those beautiful tiny little fish move about in a whole school and they seem to turn, make 90-degree turns, pirouettes and all the various motions that take place, almost as if they’re involved in being directed by some super intelligence. How does this work? Scientists have been trying to understand this for a long time. If you see a flock of geese flying overhead in formation, moving about as if there’s somebody somewhere in the midst of this thing telling them all what to do. That’s the power of the swarm.

The group becomes an entity with a the soul. Now the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. There’s a oneness of vision and focus, one projection of light. It’s a sense that when we become one in our meditation time later. Feel this oneness. Feel this projecting forth, fountain flowing forth of light from our consciousness. In one voice, one projection, we send this energy out into the world or that whereto we send it and it shall be accomplished and fulfilled. We will take some time in our meditation for world healing in a little bit.

But about the meditation process. We use the word meditation advisedly because so often when we talk about prayer the mind goes in all directions. We pray to God about things. We sort of have a third party, a triangle. God is up here, we pray to God about something down here. I like to say: I’m going to take the short route, leave out the middle man, pray directly to the condition.” First of all, a person would say, “That’s sacrilegious, you’re trying to the head of God.” I’m not at all. We’re trying to take God out of the skies. As long as God is up here we’re involved in supplicating, pleading, hoping, praying and think, well maybe it isn’t going to work out for me this time. Maybe God isn’t listening. God can’t help Himself from listening because God is allness in intelligence.

Take away God from the sky. Think of God in yourself, that activity of anything that rushes in streams and pours in you from all sides, constantly filling you and thrilling you and lifting you up to a higher consciousness. You pray from that consciousness when you pray for conditions out here. You don’t pray for something to happen out of the skies, some miracle to take place. You pour this condition as far as you’re concerned with this fountaining forth of light and that light becomes healing energy because it’s God power that’s flowed through you. You see the thing right, not try to set it right, you see it rightly. Your right-seeing becomes a healing power.

Let me take a moment to get still in our meditation time. It’s good to use your imaging power for a minute. I say step through the looking glass with Alice in Wonderland. On the one side of the glass in this three-dimensional experience we see light. You see the light of the sun up there, you see light coming from lamps and so forth. As we step through the looking glass we get into another dimension. We don’t see light, we see from light. Everything is lightened because we’re enlightened. We relate to things in the consciousness of light.

In this consciousness, whatever you focus on you project a fountain of light, so it’s important to relax and settle into the swarming process. Give yourself creatively to this group situation. Like the fish in the swarm, you move easily and dramatically with the turn of the group. I play the part of the leader and we focus the light energy. You’re then part of the ensuing light radiance and you will make a difference.

I believe in the power of group prayer, visualization. This body here, this group can have a positive effect whether we know it or not. Not just figuratively but in a very real sense we can change the course of history if the light goes forth in a pure sense. We can help to realize the peace that passes understanding.

Just one thing more: When we leave this place today after we’ve had this glorious experience, as a manner of maintaining this consciousness and to set a watch oh Lord over my lips. It’s important not to pollute the atmosphere with negatives. There’s so many opportunities in a day to express negatives. In an elevator someone comes up, “Terrible day, isn’t it?” Yeah. Isn’t that awful what’s going on over in the Persian Gulf? The terrible things around the city. Yeah, it’s awful when we draw on this negative consciousness.

I want you to make a commitment. When you go forth from this place today, keep your consciousness centered in the circle of light. Wherever there’s a situation, the person or activity that’s taking place, or the government process or military force or threat of war, whatever has come to consciousness, put a circle of light around it. Consciously think of a circle of light around the person or around the situation and as far as you’re concerned you can let it go. It will not only keep you from the negative, but release the flow of light within you because your life will be a purposeful, meaningful expression of healing light in the world around you. You will make a difference.

Let’s just say that this portion of our service we acknowledge the practice of the activity of God. We dedicate ourselves to becoming channels. Expect something beautiful to come forth. So be it.


We’re now going to proceed into the meditation for world healing, healing of the world. This is a very important experience. We want you to be a part of it in real consciousness of oneness. First of all, we have the very distinct pleasure of presenting Marvin Hamlisch because some weeks ago at a special Christmas Eve activity, Marvin was present and he introduced this song. I loved it immediately. I overcame my usual reticence and timidity and went up and brashly asked him if we could use the song here. Without any hesitation he said, “Sure, I’ll come play it for you.” So we took him at his word. Marvin has come with his wife Terre and we’re really happy to have him with us. He’s going to introduce the song and Paul will sing it for us. Marvin.

Marvin Hamlisch: Thank you. I’ve just learned a new theory about show business. They always say you shouldn’t do anything with little children or animals, you shouldn’t try to follow a spectacular song by your own creation. Actually, this song was motivated, in fact inspired by my wife and her dear friend who asked me, in fact, had there ever been an anthem written for not just one country but in fact for everyone. I was very taken by the notion of doing something like this.

Of course, I asked my wife what I would ask anyone who had asked me to write this, I said: Well, how much are you going to pay for this? But unfortunately, but love finds a way. Anyway, I went to some very special lyricists, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and I was very thrilled when they came up with what I think is an exceptional lyric. What I’m also particularly thrilled about is that I’ve just heard our man here just ... We got together at about 9:30 in the morning, which is one of the few times I’ve ever seen 9:30 in the morning, and I am just so pleased that he would be singing it here.

My wife and I give this to you as our present.

© One Song. Words by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, music by Marvin Hamlisch

Thank you Marvin and Steve we sure appreciate that. Folks, when you hear this song ... Don't leave now because we're just going to have our meditation time. When you hear this song, as I'm sure you will on radio and television and various other ways often in the years to come, you'll know you heard it first here at Unity.

Now we're going to get still. This is what we're here for today. There's a Russian folk song that says: If the people lived their lives as if it were a song, for singing out the light to provide the music for the stars to be dancing circles in the night. Let's take that simple exercise and envision stepping through the looking glass. Come from the world of seeing light to the world of seeing from light. This is a world of magic, a world of wonder. This is a world of great power. There's a light that flows through us, each one, that is the greatest energy of the world.

Keep yourself as a channel. Let the song of life, the song of peace, the song of love, pour forth from your mouth. The 40th Psalm says: He hath put a new song in my mouth. This is one song that sings itself into our consciousness. We lift it up into the light that pours forth into us out of the creative flow. Bathed in light, energized in light, filled with love and forgiveness in the light, projecting in the light. The flow of transcendence and healing in the light. This hall is aglow with light. The city on the hill that cannot be hidden.

Through one body, one soul, we focus this light with all its energy first of all in the Persian Gulf. Let's focus this light on all the people in that area and the soldiers who are placed there on alert, especially seeing the light that sees innate divinity, then Saddam Hussein and his advisors, President Bush and his military and political advisers, all those involved and could be involved. Circles of light surrounding each one, putting on the armor of protection in the light. We don't know the solution, we don't need to know. We can only keep ourselves centered in the light, the healing light that makes for peace, understanding, justice, integrity and love.

We want to see this light reaching out to all the areas of need, all the darkened points in the world. The need for leadership and government and integrity. Honesty and integrity in the business community. Stability in the nation's economy. Guidance and light in the function of our schools. Light that can bring the only solution to the problem of drugs and crime epidemics. As prophet Isaiah says, "And shall Thy light break forth as the morning, Thy health shall spring forth speedily."

Just for a moment in quiet, see this light pouring forth from us, from this hall as a radiant influence in all the dark areas of the world. Let's feel confident in this, conscious of the fact that each one of us is a part of it. We do make a difference. The light that goes forth, may it truly change the course of human affairs, of human history. We want this anthem for the world to be just the right note, the one song to bring peace and harmony and love into the hearts of people everywhere. We're grateful that in this moment together we could do our little bit.

© One Song. Words by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, music by Marvin Hamlisch


Just imagine what would happen in the world if we'd all sing that one song.

On this note we're going to close our meeting. I want to thank Marvin and Steve and Paul and Olga who have helped so much to make this effective. I want to thank each one of you for going forth in the light and maintaining this consciousness, using every time you can the circle of light that you place around the disturbed and darkened areas.

We're going to close with our usual Let There Be Peace, but today as we stand we'll hold hands and we'll also at the close of it raise our hands as we do so often. We're going to hold that for a few moments, thinking in terms of antennae going forth from this place, sending out this vibration of light that truly my dream will be fulfilled, Avery Fisher Hall sitting on a hill radiating with light. Let's stand and sing Let There Be Peace On Earth.

Let there be peace on earth. Copyright 1955, 1983 by Jan-Lee Music, ASCAP

Peace begins with one song. Amen.