Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #91
Delivered by Eric Butterworth on September 28, 1975
It’s the Fall of the year. And isn’t that an interesting word? In the falling leaves there seems to be an evidence of death, while actually it is a sign of vital life. A dying tree loses its leaves slowly. The falling leaves show forth an activity of growth, as the new leaves within are pushing the old ones out.
We say of someone, “He fell flat on his face”, which is our judgment of failure. But what is this kind of “falling” to a mature person? The goal of life is to grow, and how better to grow than through seeming failure? Missing the mark is part of the process of learning to hit the target. One who is not prepared to cope with failure tends to be inhibited. He rarely attempts ventures where failure is a possibility, which cripples his creativity and imagination.
Romantic relationships usually have their genesis in what we call, “falling in love.” We may be deluded that the ecstasy of this love experience is the sure guarantee that two people are meant for each other, whereas they may have nothing going for them except mutual passion. What we have failed to account for is that we are always in love, for we are all creatures born in and of the love of the Infinite. Thus, what we call “falling in love” may really be a “fall from love,” an ego-trip of sensuality, a fall from inner-centered love.
Now, this “fall from love” may well be inevitable as the starting place in any relationship. We are whole creatures, and our involvement in loving may well seek the lowest common denominator as a point of beginning. But after the fall, there must be a rising in love if there is to be the evolution of spiritual union. Falling in love is easy...some do it often. Rising in love requires commitment...and the self-less effort to be a “helpmate” to another...to help him to grow into oneness with his Christ self.
Mankind’s first awakening to consciousness is symbolized by the allegory of Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit. Theologically, this has been the basis for the idea of the “fall of man”, with the implication that from that time forward man has always been...and is...”born in sin and shaped in iniquity.” Actually, this is not a fall, except in the sense that the inner potentialities were pushing through the limitations as new leaves push out the old ones.
Actually, Genesis depicts two creations—the first chapter deals with the “involutionary creation,” All things were created in God’s image-likeness, and “it was good and very good.” The second and ensuing chapters deals with the process of evolution of that which was involved. This evolution was not a downward fall. Hegel calls it the “fall upward.” It is the ceaseless process of the unfolding or “out-forming” of that which is always inwrapped within every person. The principle is, no matter where you may be or what you may be experiencing, you are never less than a spiritual being. Adam and Eve in the allegory were driven from the garden...not by God’s vindictiveness...but by the working oq divine law.
St Augustine says, “Perfection begins in the awareness of imperfection.” Adam and Eve looked at themselves and saw that they were naked and unworthy...thus, began the long quest for self-awareness and “worthship.” But the Truth that was dimly perceived by the prophets and fully revealed by Jesus was that no matter where one is in the process of evolution, in principle he is wL and perfect. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
The Garden of Eden story implies that as man emerges into consciousness he discovers the law of mind-action, which says, “Where you are in experience is a certain reflection of where you happen to be in consciousness.” Thus, wherever you are, you are in your right place. Not necessarily your true place. Your true place is where you can be by reason of the God-man involved in you. Bur your right place is where you happen to be at any time, the place that corresponds to your mentality at the moment.
Adam and Eve hid when God called, “Adam, where are you?” Adam thought God was accusing him, but He was really trying to show him the way out of his predicament. It was like Jesus asking Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Adam’s answer could have been, “I am the Christ, the son of the living God.’! Then there would have been no “fall.” For there would have been the realization that he was also in his true place.
We may be in the Adam-predicament... running around trying to solve our problems. Actually, we are trying to find our problem. This was the story of Job. When he found his problem, he realized that he was his own problem. And when Job changed his attitude toward himself, he changed everything.
A favorite affirmation of the “new insight” is “Wherever I am, God is.” It is a helpful realization. But even if I know that God is with me, I may still feel unworthy and “cover my nakedness.” The key to Adam’s dilemma and ours is “I AM.” I like to alter the affirmation to “Wherever I am, I AM.” In other words, no matter where I am in experience, I am the activity of God expressing as me. Even in ray partial expression, the wholeness of me is present...and Christ in me is my hope of glory, of healing, of overcoming, of success.
Thoreau once quipped, “Men will lie on their backs talking about the ‘fall of man’, and never make an attempt to get up.” The “getting up”, the resurrection and healing and beginning again, is really what life is all about. We may lie moaning about our problems, wondering “why?”, like Job. We may say, “What is the meaning of it all?” But meaning is found in accepting where you are as evidence of your consciousness at the moment. This is to assume the responsibility for your consciousness and its manifestations. And then, realizing that despite your limited awareness of the moment, you are created in God’s image-likeness. You admit that you are in your “right place”, but you press on in faith to your “true place.” And you realize that there could have been no gaining of the true place without your particular fall by which you could “rise on the stepping stones of your dead self to higher things.”
Certainly, things may happen in the changing of the seasons, or the fluctuations of the market, or even in a seeming fall into “bad luck” or “hard times”. But these things are simply what is happening to you or around you. All that counts is what happens in you. If...while you fall into your right place, you keep the vision of your true place...you will tend to transcend the outer experience, and it will be a fall upward in growth.
© 1975, by Eric Butterworth