Saturday, October 31, 2009

Diving for the Pearls of One Ocean

"How well do you know the Writings?"

That was my question to the group at the summer school.  We all know the famous quotes, but how well do we really know the Writings?  The example I used, as one we all knew, was "Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch."  But how many other similar quotes would we recognize?  I passed around three dozen as a bit of a quiz, including:  "The pearls of one ocean", "the birds in one garden of roses", and "the  fingers of one hand".  The first two are from the Master, but the last one is a fake.

I was able to fool just about everyone in the audience.  All missed a few that were in the Writings, and many guessed some that were not.  It was a lot of fun.  I'm glad to say that everyone knew that "the fries of one happy meal" was not in the Writings.

So, why am I telling you about this?

Simple.  I think we often become too complacent with those things we are familiar with.  For example, my wife and I were studying the compilation on consultation (well before we got married).  We were trying to learn how to consult with each other, and thought this compilation would help.

Unfortunately, as you know from reading this compilation yourself, all the quotes are about Assemblies consulting with their communities.

"How," we asked ourselves, "does this apply to us?

I'm glad we asked, because if we didn't, I wouldn't be writing about it today.

We decided to trust in the process and kept going.

We got to quote number 10 in the compilation, and found the following: "for they are the waves of one sea, the drops of one river, the stars of one heaven, the rays of one sun, the trees of one orchard, the flowers of one garden."

My inclination was to skip over this part of the quote, the "this of one that" section, and "get to the good stuff", when the now-partner-of-my-soul stepped in and reminded me that this was Sacred Text I was skipping over.

"Let's see what is hidden within this."  Did I mention how much I appreciate her brilliance?  Well, I do.  She is pretty good at keeping me on the right track.

In her usual wave-of-genius manner, she divided the text as follows:

  • the waves of one sea, the drops of one river,
  • the stars of one heaven, the rays of one sun,
  • the trees of one orchard, the flowers of one garden

"Do you notice," she said, "how they are in pairs?"  I hadn't.

"They go from macro to micro, big to small."  Neat.

"And water plus light equals life."  Cool.

This simple part of the quote, which I had almost skipped over, gave us the key for which we were searching.  It seemed as if the Master was reminding us that if it works on the large scale, it also works on the small scale.

This led us to a series of questions which I do not recall, but I know that it ended with the search for the application.  If the quotes refer to Assemblies, what would be the two-person micro version of an Assembly?  A married couple.

Our thinking was really quite simple:  The institution of the Assembly is the decision-making body of a community made up of individuals.  The institution of marriage is the decision-making body of the community of a family made up of the individual members.  Macro / Micro.

I credit this quote as helping my wife and I turn our attention towards getting married.

So next time you find yourself skipping over a bit of Sacred Text, you might want to take a moment and see what else is there.  You never know where it might lead.

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