EBUP20: Creative Serendipity

Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #20

Eric Butterworth Sunday Services — Creative Serendipity

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One of the fundamentals of truth that we encounter early on in our quest is the statement, “everything works for good.” Sometime in your life, you may have been confronted with such a statement. At a time when you weren’t too familiar with the context. You might have thought, while facing some very difficult experience, even some strategy, what kind of wacky thought is that?

Everything works for good? What’s good in this? So first the things to be extremely Pollyanna attitude. Terribly naïve. Even irritating. You’re often told by the Truth student, “If you’re feeling down, feel unhappy or concerned about something, things are not going well, hold firmly to the thought, everything is working for good.” It’s hard to do at first, isn’t it?

By the time we come to realize that it is not Pollyanna at all. It is an expression, recognition that you are an expression of the activity of God. And Jesus said, “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” All the time. It’s the divine will to resolve all difficulties in harmony, all the time. Even when you’re bogged down exceeding limitation. There’s a naturable force for good underlying your experience. Always.

So you begin to affirm everything is working for good. But not to make it so. But rather to step out of the darkness into the light of oneness with what we call “the divine flow.” And to get yourself in tune with the truth, that behind the appearance, is a transcended level. A divine will. It’s always seeking to transpose any dissonance into harmony. It’s the subtle aspect of life, but very important to know.

Here’s an example. Let’s look at the story of the Israelites in the Bible. In the journey to Egypt to their promised land. But, first of all, did you know that the ancient Chinese compass for which all modern systems and navigation has evolved, originally had five points instead of four? North, South, East and West. And a fifth one, where you are. That seems strange at first, but when you start to think about it, it’s amazing logical. Because if you don’t know where you are, it’s not very helpful to know the points of the compass.

And it’s good to keep that in mind, concerning a lot of things in life. So to find your way in the study of the Bible, or the study of fundamental truth, is know where we are. And commence at that point. Otherwise, you’ll forever be on the outside looking in. So you see, the Bible, only makes sense when we begin where we are. And see it in a personally symbolic sense.

So the Israelites, representing the human thoughts within us all, were led by Moses, representing the ascending urge, to the land of promise. Signifying happiness and peace, freedom from want and sickness. The promise of a new and wonderful life. It seemed a simple matter, for the Israelites, to cover the 200 miles from Egypt to Palestine. In a short time.

And they did arrive at the border after a very small journey. But after sending some spies, on a reconnaissance into the land. It felt totally insufficient to enter in and possess the land. And the spies came back and reported “There are giants in the land. And we are in their sight and in ours as grasshoppers.” Cause it was all there for the taking, but they didn’t have the consciousness to enter in. And when you find yourself on the verge of success, but it just isn’t working out for you, you may feel like a failure.

But are you really a failure? You still wanna succeed. You still desire, healing. You still have a hope that you overscome your limitations. And your desire is the prophecy of what you can become. So with the perspective of what we’re calling creative serendipity, you have faith for things that work for good. Now, in the story, Israelites languished in the wood for 40 years. We may have had the vision of Israelites wandering around, not knowing where they were. And 40 years trying to find the promised land. It wasn’t true. They knew where the promised land was.

But they were trying to get themselves centered. In the prospective of Jewish history, this 40 year period was one of the most significant periods. When they left Egypt, they were a primitive band without ideals. Without any sense of nationality. Without a meaningful religion. This 40 year period in their wilderness schoolroom, they developed laws, culture, self sufficiency. They became a cohesive body. With a culture and character of their own.

It was a long way around to their destination. But serendipitously, it was the only way for them. For if they had gone straight into their land of promise, they would have been destroyed. So for them, the straight line was not the shortest distance between two points. You see it’s important to know that progress, is not always a straight line going upward. It will look more like a graph of the stock market performance. Ups and downs. Ups and downs. The need is to exercise the discipline.

To be patient with yourself. You’re not a machine. There will always be periods of varying energy. So the successful person is not one who has no failures. But not one who is not defeated by failure. He picks himself up, dusts himself off and [notches 00:06:15] out again and again and again. The Israelites wilderness experience is about like a person going to New Haven. To find a haven from life. And winding up getting a college education at Yale.

This is why it’s called a serendipity. The classic example is Columbus. He set out to find a short route to the far away café. The route to the east. By sailing around the world to the west. He completely failed where he’s going. But in the process, he discovered a new world. The word is serendipity.

In the 18th Century there lived an English writer named Horace Walpole. He tells how an old Persian fairy-tale had made a profound impression on his life. It had to do with the three princes of Serendip. Serendip was the ancient name for Ceylon. During our lifetime it’s been changed to Sri Lanka. Used to be a nobleman named Serendip. While traveling through the world, rarely found the treasures they were looking for. He continually ran into other treasures, equally great. Or even greater. Which they were not seeking.

Looking for one thing, they found something else. So it dawned on them that this is one of life’s sly and wonderful tricks. It gave them a slant on life. Enabled them to be positive. Optimistic about all things. And for them, every day resulted in a new and thrilling experience. Even though their goal sometimes far eluded them. They were more than rewarded. With the wayside discoveries. The serendipities. So Walpole coined the word serendipity. It’s defined as the discovery of goals which you stumble into and which stumble into you. Like you’re on a search for all together different goals. If you search your lives, your experience, your memory, you’ll probably find many serendipities. That you’ve never referred to in that way.

A good example of this. A boy in Decatur Illinois, answered an ad in a magazine, ordering a book about photography. A field in which he was very much interested. But the publisher made a mistake. He sent him a book on ventriloquism. He could have been angry and sent the book back with a critical note, but he had a very inquisitive mind. So he read the book. Being fascinated with the subject of ventriloquism. He began practicing the art of throwing his voice. And he became very good at it.

He created a wooden dummy. During the one time, more people listened on a Sunday evening than anyone in history. He was Charlie McCarthy. So, Edgar Bergen turned a mistake into a lifelong opportunity. This is serendipity.

Also it may be an experience in which you may be part of a special not working for someone else. There’s a story I told by Aulis Gellius reporting that a slave who ran away from a cruel task master in Africa took refuge in a cave. Hiding in the half dark, danks, the slave was thanking his lucky stars for his escape. When a lion suddenly appeared in the cave’s entrance. The lion crouched and slowly entered the cave. And the slave retreated until he stood with his back against the wall. Paralyzed with fear.

The lion paused before him. Crouching. Held up his right paw. He was bruised and bleeding. And it was a thorn. The slave was named Androcles gathered up his courage and extracted the thorn with great care. And the lion gratefully licked his helper’s hand and departed. Three years later, in Rome, Androcles who had now become a Christian, receives by Roman persecutors, an order to renounce his faith. He refused. And was sentenced to fight a lion in the Roman arena. Which normally meant sudden death. But the lion which had been brought from the African wells, was the same one Androcles had befriended.

It recognized its benefactor. Instead of attacking him, showered him with such affection. Androcles was granted his freedom. George Bernard Shaw wrote a play on the theme. His classic “Androcles and the Lion.”

Now, what is this process of serendipity? Is it a matter of chance? Just a lucky break? Perhaps, even some capricious will of God? It’s my conviction, is the basic fundamental principle, an unactive force, that can be harnessed. Until we understand this, we miss one of the great factors of this important, insight of truth. Is what I call the “Godspell.” It’s like the pull of the sun on the sunflower. The force is very much a part of nature itself.

Science has come to a new awareness of a force that contrasts the power of entropy. It is centropy. The tendency of all things toward growth. Toward healing. Toward a higher and higher level of specialization. Entropy, for those of you who know your high school or college physics, is the view of the universe and life within it, is winding down; running out, aging and deteriorating. Many of you remember the study of astronomy and Astro-physics. The idea that the universe is constantly running down. Falling apart. Has contrasted with a new insight of entropy. Indicates the universe is expanding. Growing. Constantly evolving. Outward. There’s still a conflict between science in this area.

But as to entropy, Al Capp has a classic illustration. In his character, which some of you may remember, Joe Btsfplk. A little character with, dressed in black, with a fine little black hat. Wherever he walked, there was a black cloud over his head. Wherever he goes, things come to misfortune. Where he is, it always rains. Or storms. Machines always break down. Hens don’t lay. Weapons misfire. Everything goes wrong when Joe Btsfplk is around. He represents the force of entropy.

The concept of entropy has had a profound influence on the general attitude toward life, which we all embraced in some way in our growing up. Just suppose that with every falling of the leaves, the life of a tree were ended. Suppose that were not within the body, the power to renew and heal itself. With every cut of the finger, a bruise of the knee. Our life span would thus be shortened. Suppose that with every sorrow, every discouragement and despair, faith and hope are lost. Never to return. It’s difficult to even imagine. Isn’t it? Why?

Because there’s an intuitive awareness in us all. And something dynamic within us that is eternally seeking to flow forth as our good. It is because of this awareness, that as the writer says, “Hope spring eternal in the human breast.” When every person longs for the heights and cannot ever really settle for anything less than perfection, it is the power of life to renew itself. The power by which every person can rise out of the ashes and defeat and go on and do something more.

That this potential of good, does not always manifest out of our human challenges. In no way indicates there’s any lack in the universe. Simply, that we’ve fallen asleep to the inner flow. But you see, you can never be separated from the universe. By transcended laws. You’re in it and it’s in you. You may experience illness, but there’s always an allness within the illness. You may come to a point of insufficiency, but you’re still experiencing it within the milieu of all sufficiency. You may be fired from a job. But there’s no way you can ever be fired from the universe.

This is a very important realization. Now creative serendipity is the positive use of the universal trend toward wholeness and order. It’s making practical the process of all things work together for good. When you commit yourself to work with creative serendipity, you have the feeling you have something working in you. Something going for you. Someone on your side, as it were. You project a positive energy flow that will light your way. You would have the faith to believe. Really believe that all things are working together for your good.

It will enable you to look back over your life, up to now. And to see that every happening played an important part in unfolding the pattern of your soul’s growth. And it will appear for all the world as if the path you traveled was the only possible way you could take to reach the desired end. This is not a case of pre-destination. It is rather a pre-disposition to go through the exegesis of life. When you reflect on something or some chain of events that has happened, you see how it has turned out well, that has been a wonderful manifestation of things working together for good, you can be grateful for the serendipity.

But your insight and truth can enable you to go beyond that. You can prepare yourself every day by affirming this day all things are working for good. Like the three princes of Serendip. It’ll give you a marvelous attitude toward life. Of expectancy. Of optimism. Projecting a consciousness that will attract good things to you. This day, all things are working together for good. This is creative serendipity.

It’s tapping into the creative process of the universe to actually generate a serendipitous energy. We’re saying that often you can see how things have worked together for good. We’re also saying that you can project this force into a creative serendipitous process, which attracts onto you the good that potentially is yours. And it draws it to you in a very exciting and wonderful way. You see the “I am” of me, has changed us in eternal. For everyone the universal flow.

But I must know that I am. It will always be according to my faith. All things are possible for them to believe for the I am of me is forever rooted in the all things of the universe. And by means of the transcending process within. The same universe that all things is involved in the realization, all things work together for good. Because we all long for happiness and fulfillment and peace. But these can only be realized with self-discipline and growth and overcoming. It’s not sufficient.

Just casually, expect the serendipity by saying, it’s all gonna work for good. It’s all gonna work for good. It’s all gonna work for good. Cause you see it’s not just going through the experiences of life, spouting Pollyanna platitudes. It’s growing through them. Right where you are, whatever you may be experiencing. If it’s heartache and pain, and even it’s long range implications and misfortune. It can be a blessing. It can become an opportunity to which you can grow and go onto success. If you know it. Project it in faith. But you have to decide whether you’re really gonna make the best of things. Shrug your shoulders and say, “Well, what are you gonna do, that’s life for you.”

Just go through it in resignation. Whether you’re gonna apply the process of creative serendipity, dig into your inner potential and draw on limitless reserves of spirit within. It can be if you will it, an unfolding experience that will work for your highest good. It can be if you will it. If you decree it. If you expect it. And you can see an evidence of creative serendipity in the life experience of Jesus. Probably the weakest point in Bible based religion of Christian tradition has been the influence of the immortal words of Jesus from the cross. “My God, my God. Why has thou forsaken me.”

In your exposure to Christianity, if you’re honest, hasn’t this disturbed you just a little bit? That Jesus, supposedly the best of all persons, God’s only son, as we’ve been told, was forsaken by God that he could even think he would be forsaken. This incident alone is probably kept more reasonable people from taking seriously the Christian faith than any other. Because it is logical to assume, either God turned his back on quote, his only begotten son, unquote. Which is a pretty limited kind of God. Or that Jesus thought he did. The evidence is shallow sort of faith. Now we know, this was a faulty translation of the Hebrew. The words Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani which when properly translated means, “My God, my God. For this was I kept.”

For this was I kept. This is my destiny. In other words, in contemporary parlance, Jesus was saying, “I’m right on track.” It was his opportunity to achieve mastery. And like Joseph evolved, it was a case of, they may have intended it for evil, but God intended it for good. Drawing on the all things work together for good principle, he became a perfect example of creative serendipity. So out of this insight we can see that when Jesus cried out from the cross, he just finished. This was no cry of resignation and hopelessness. As we’ve been taught. It was a cry of victory.

Implying, I have achieved the goal. The plan has succeeded. The person who has set out to find the solution to the problem of this Jesus rebel, but instead through Jesus, provided a channel for the transcend of life to flow forth from the cosmos in the form of Jesus discovery. Of the Christ growing in every person. The greatest discovery of all time. It’s important to catch this insight. This beautiful, interpretation of the scripture. To get the real sense of what Jesus means. What his teaching involves.

One man once said to me, for years of my life I had a deep spiritual hunger. But it was never satisfied by the churches I attended or the religions I studied. Then he said, surprising even myself, I was moved in a Christian revival meeting to accept Jesus. I really didn’t know what it meant. It was an emotional event, an experience but it was compelling. There was a time of elation. But I soon realized that the spiritual hunger deep within me didn’t disappear. So I set out to really find to know Jesus. In the course of my quest, he says, “I found your book, ‘Discover the Power Within You.’” I found Jesus in an entirely new light. But most importantly I discovered the Christ in myself. My own son of God identity. My very own, in dwelling channel to God. Which is a very real serendipity.

He set out to find Jesus. Instead he found the Christ within. That’s one of the most important realizations in our study for truth. When you learn to see experiences from a serendipitous perspective, your all things work together for good attitude, you never see anything as a mistake. Or a complete failure. You know that no one door ever closes, but there’s another opened. And Shakespeare sings, “You’ll find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones and good in everything.” When we catch this concept, we will never be satisfied to accept anything that happens. Either letting it go or doing the best we can in. We never accept anything less. That knowing that somehow is an evolution of good in this.

Not that this thing in itself is good. But it can work for good. If I get in tune with the universal process which we call centropy. The upward pull of God. Which enabled all things to be resolved into that which is good. You name the experience. The loss of a job. Physical illness. Some problem in your relationship with people. No matter what it is. It can be a process working for good if you know it. If you tune in upon this centropic process of divine upward pull within you. But it always works for good. If you let it.

If you tune in on it. Another good example of this is a pianist or an organist playing along or perhaps improvising. Suddenly striking a wrong note. It can happen to anyone. With a good improvisational musician, you’ll never know there was a mistake. Cause when they strike a wrong note, creating a momentary dissonance, the skillful improvisation artist will transpose into a new key and who seem as thought this dissonance was intended. Probably happens often. Probably into our great Paul Trueblood.

The important thing, a person who is well along and is understanding of this truth idea, will do the same thing in his experience. He may seem to fall flat on his face in a job, in a relationship and some difficulty. Always, by keeping in tune with the all things working for good process, it will be resolved into a new chord; into a new pattern. Suddenly we will look back and say that’s just exactly the right thing that happened to me. Being fired from a job. Realizing that I’m not being fired from the universe. I’m being fired out of my job into something better. So I give thanks that something better is on the way. And I find that something better. I look back and say, “How could I have been so blind?” Of course this is the direction I should go. All things work together for good.

Yet, it’s not just simply a matter of interpreting something that has happened. It’s creating a projecting force. Which goes forth and draws to me the things that work together for good. Always. This calls to mind the story of the drunken guest at a lodge in the north of Scotland. I’ve told this story before. I think it’s so very appropriate. The guest opened a bottle of soda and splashed the contents all over a newly decorated wall. Of course the host was terribly upset, cause it left an unsightly splotch from floor to ceiling. So they, folks stayed for the weekend and it was very tense, the atmosphere.

Cause everyone felt that they had done something terribly wrong. So the guests eventually all left, feeling the understandably displeasure of the host. One man remained behind. He stared at the blotch. Meditated on it. And he went to work on it with crayons and charcoal. And finally with oil paints. He turned the brown stains into brown island rocks with a cataract pouring over them. Where the stain was deepest, he painted a glorious highland stag leaping into the torrent. Pursued by hunters in the background. Sir Edward Lanseer the great artist, create a fantastically beautiful mural. Which brought good out of error. And beauty out of ugliness. Now this Lodge is a famous landmark. Cause visitors coming from near and far to see Lanseer’s mural.

And the frustratingly hideous blotch on the Lodge became it’s crowning glory. Isn’t it amazing. There are probably areas of your life, right now, or if you’re honest with yourself and analytic enough in a positive sense. You can find that some of the most important things in your life, which you not accept as blessings, came to in some similar way. Even boosted by a kick in the pants. Put your face in the right direction. Something wonderful has come in some way. As a result of some chance occurrence. Some chance meeting with someone. That’s changed your whole life.

Recognize this because it’s one of the positive ways of accepting your blessings in life. But see it as a positive force. You can go forth before you. Actually transfer, translate things from negative to positive. Bring into your life the things that are gonna work for the highest good and fulfillment. Remember, looking backward, at what has already transpired. Looking forward to the decisions and the choices of the future. Get into a conscious of creative serendipity. By knowing all things work together for good. Not to make it so. But to establish your faith in the high level of the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

I invite you to be still with me for a moment, now. Get involved in an experience of imagery. First of all, remember the Chinese navigational process. The compass composed of five points. North and South and East and West and where you are. As the voice said to Abraham, “Look up from the place that you are. Northward, southward, eastward and westward, all the land we shall seest to thee I will give it.” Implied in that experience is a realization that Abraham knew where he was. Did he look south or north or east or west from where he was? Relate easily to the damning floor of life. Which will bring all the things that you desire. To right where you are.

Look southward, northward, eastward and westward. Give thanks that all things work for good. All things work for good. Get the vision now. All the things of your life. Things that have come to you already and things that are still unfolding for you in the future. A part of this all things work for good process. Say to yourself, “I’m in tune with this divine flow. And all things work together for good.” See yourself going from this place today into the life of your world out there. See yourself taking steps, acting, serving, creating, in a way that atunes you to the divine flow of your own good. Have faith that it goes beyond your conscious ability. Your experience. It touches upon one of the deep well springs of life. In the universal sense. The force of entropy. Of centropy. The upward pull of the divine within your life.

Leading you into higher and higher evidence of expression. And fulfillment of healing. All things work together for good. See yourself always centered. Very in the middle of the compass. As the voice said to Abraham, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place that you are.” Northward, southward, eastward and westward and you’re in tune with the divine flow. And all the land that you see, all the success and achievement that you envision. All the healing and overcoming that you imagine. Shall be yours. All things work together for good.

And have faith. This divine process is always, always active in your life. Wherever you are, whatever you do. Whatever you experience. You’re always in the center of this circle. And all things work together for good. If you believe it. You decree it. You keep yourself in tune with it.

So for a moment look to those areas of your life where you have something that you have let yourself believe is terrible. Some tragedy. Some loss. Some confusion. Some heartache. And financial depravity. And lift up your eyes above and beyond that experience. And be willing to declare and decree and believe. All things work together for good. And out of that point of darkness, out of that difficulty, out of that confusion, shall come something wonderful. Something beautiful.

Like the splotch on the wall that was transformed into a thing of beauty, the dark point of your life may become the stepping stone to your crown and glory. Have faith. And you shall know the truth. And the truth shall make you free. So be it.