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Written by Charles Burnell, January 2014

Delivered at the West Wind Unitarian Universalist Congregation February 9, 2014
Sine !alentines Day is o"ing u#, and $e have all had our %ill o% #a#er
hearts and valentines already, let "e drag it out &ust a little "ore, and tal'
about love(
) have heard the $ord *od interhanged $ith the $ords +ove and +ight on
"any oasions and it see"s to "a'e sense to "e(
Ditionary(o" says, light is ,so"ething that "a'es things visible or a%%ords
illu"ination- .lso alled luminous energy or radiant energy. {pause} Also
a #erson $ho is an outstanding leader or lu"inary-( /o enlighten is to ,to
give intelletual or s#iritual light to0 to instrut or i"#art 'no$ledge to( 1to
teach or share your light2 .nd enlighten"ent is the at o% enlightening, or the
state o% being enlightened(
So $hy do #eo#le #u'er u# at the disussion a higher #o$er , or reahing
We all seretly $ant it( We are here together beause o% a o""on belie%(
/hat $e are #art o% so"ething greater( /hat $hat $e do, or hoose not to do,
is ine4triably onneted to everything around us( +ove is *od( +ove is
+ight, But $e don5t li'e the $ord *od( We ant live $ithout light, or love(
But $e an live $ithout *od3 )ts &ust a $ord( +et go o% the %ear o% so"ebody
else5s $ord(
) have not attended hurh sine ) $as a young hild( ) didn5t have good
e4#erienes at hurh $hen ) $as young and ) have s#ent several years
$or'ing through it( When #eo#le "eet "e, they are o%ten sur#rised at ho$
strong "y s#iritual belie% is( For a long ti"e, ) have %elt that "y #ersonal
"ythology $as uni6ue, and al$ays light u# $hen ) "eet #eo#le $ho are on
the sa"e #age as ) a"( What ) %ind "ost o% the ti"e, is that there are enough
si"ilarities and di%%erenes, that $e an have intelligent and sti"ulating
onversation in sharing our belie%s and e4#erienes $ith eah other(
When ) a"e to the 7or"an area 8 9 : years ago, ) heard about the UU( )t
$as reo""ended that ) o"e and he' it out( Finally, ) ended u# "oving
around the orner this last su""er( ) had beo"e very urious( ) onsidered
"ysel% a Universalist( 7ot beause o% anything that has neessarily been
assoiated Universalis" as an organi;ed religion, reogni;ed by so"e greater
oordination o% dotrines, but beause ) believe in the universe as a $hole,
$eb, onneted( /hat $e are eah on our o$n #aths to enlighten"ent( .s
long as you #ratie $hat you believe and believe in $hat you #ratie, that
essentially, $e are all doing the sa"e thing( ) $as urious to see i% $hat the
hurh $as saying $as any$here near $hat ) had already been sharing
<#ause= $ith anyone that $ould listen any$ay( <#ause= So a %e$ "onths
ago, ) %inally dragged "ysel% in here( ) $as sur#rised to see .ndy, "y
%avorite tattoo artist, and Susan, and >ary Franis, and ) 'ne$ ) $as in the
right #lae( ) $as still an4ious, sitting through the %irst ser"on here( ) listened
about ho$ *od is Dead( /hough the $ords didn5t sound 6uite right, ) 'e#t
loo'ing u# at the $ords behind the #e$( .nd they sounded right in "y head( )
'e#t losing "y eyes and &ust feeling everyone in the roo"( ) an F??+ the
love in this roo"( ?ah one o% you has a #assion that drives you( Whether it
is so"ething you are searhing %or, or so"ething that you have already
%ound, and are nurturing, you all have it( ) an %eel it( ) %ind it "ildly
entertaining ho$ so"e %ol's ) have tal'ed $ith here #u'er u# and get
%idgety $hen the one#t o% *od or a higher #o$er o"es u#(
We are stardust( We are golden( We are here no$( We don5t have to get
ourselves ba' to the garden( We are already in it( We are all seeds and
%lo$ers and trees( We all have the #o$er $ithin us, and $hen $e ta# into that
#o$er, $e ao"#lish great things(
I stole t!is "rom t!e #a!a$i Daily %uotes online &e'site.
Lo(e is Lig!t
Be ye sinerely 'ind, not in a##earane only( +et eah one o% *od@s loved
ones entre his attention on thisA to be the +ord@s "ery to "an0 to be the
+ord@s grae( +et hi" do so"e good to every #erson $hose #ath he rosseth,
and be o% so"e bene%it to hi"( +et hi" i"#rove the harater o% eah and all,
and reorient the "inds o% "en( )n this $ay, the light o% divine guidane $ill
shine %orth, and the blessings o% *od $ill radle all "an'indA %or love is light,
no "atter in $hat abode it d$elleth0 and hate is dar'ness, no "atter $here it
"ay "a'e its nest( B %riends o% *odC /hat the hidden >ystery "ay stand
revealed, and the seret essene o% all things "ay be dislosed, strive ye to
banish that dar'ness %or ever and ever(
D.bdu@lEBaha, Seletions %ro" the Writings o% .bdu@lEBaha
Bne thing ) notied "y %irst ti"e here, $as the a##arent substitution o% +ove
%or *od( Using the $ord +ove instead o% the $ord *od, see"s "ore
#alatable( ) li'e to use the $ord Divine( ?ssentially ) a" re%erring to the sa"e
%ore, but %ro" a di%%erent #ers#etive( /hin' o% $hen you %eel "ost u#li%ted(
When there is a great sharing o% love ourring(
) believe that +ove is /he e"otional e"bodi"ent o% the divine( /he $ay $e
#hysially and e"otionally #ereive an enlightened or u#li%ted state(
Flato says in the Sy"#osiu" ,/he lover is "ore divine than the loved one-
Sharing love is a natural $ay to s#read light( U#li%ting others around us, $e
"ulti#ly love(
Do not be a%raid o% the light inside you( Whether you all it *od or *oddess,
Fassion, >use, or si"#ly identi%y it as your o$n #ersonal strength, $e are all
ta##ing into and identi%ying the sa"e thing, our onnetion to that $hih
drives us( .'no$ledging that $e are eah individual #oints o% light on this
great $eb o% e4istene, $e "ust also reogni;e that as $e share love $ith
ourselves and eah other, $e nurture the light o% the divine $ithin ourselves(
/hough you "ay reah your state o% enlighten"ent in the $ay that is "ost
natural %or you, your light still illu"inates the #ath %or others, as their light
illu"inates your #ath(
But you "ust %irst love yoursel%(
Don >iguel, author o% /he Four .gree"ents, says ,)% ) love "ysel%, ) $ill
e4#ress that love in interations $ith you-
Let me side'ar "or a moment and s!are a passage "rom one o" my
"a(orite 'oo)s, T!e Tao o" *oo!, 'y #en+amin Ho"", to )eep "rom reading
you t!e &!ole ,!apter, t!is portion is annotated.
+ets i"agine that $e have $al'ed do$n a narro$ street in a large Chinese
ity and have %ound a s"all sho# that sells srolls #ainted in the lassi
"anner( We go inside and as' to be sho$n so"ething allegorialE so"ething
hu"orous, #erha#s, but $ith so"e sort o% ti"eless "eaning( /he sho#'ee#er
s"iles( ,) have &ust the thing(- he tells us, A. o#y o% /he !inegar /astersC-
Ge leads us to a large table and unrolls the sroll, #laing it do$n %or us to
e4a"ine( ,?4use "e H ) "ust attend to so"ething %or a "o"ent,- he says,
and goes into the ba' o% the sho#, leaving us alone $ith the #ainting(
.lthough $e an see that this is a %airly reent version, $e 'no$ the original
$as #ainted long ago0 &ust $hen is unertain( But by no$, the the"e o% the
#ainting is $ell 'no$n(
We see three "en standing around a vat o% vinegar( ?ah has di##ed his
%inger into the vinegar and has tasted it( /he e4#ression on eah "an5s %ae
sho$s his individual reation ( Sine the #ainting is allegorial, $e are to
understand that these are not ordinary vinegar tasters, but instead are
re#resentatives o% the ,/hree /eahings- o% China, and that the vinegar they
are sa"#ling re#resents the essene o% +i%e( /he three "asters are I5ung FuE
tse JCon%uiusK, Buddha, and +aoEtse, author o% the oldest e4isting boo' o%
/aois"( /he %irst has a sour loo' on his %ae, the seond $ears a bitter
e4#ression, but the third "an is s"iling(
/o I5ung FuEtse J'ung FBBdsuhK, li%e see"ed rather sour( Ge believed that
the #resent $as out o% ste# $ith the #ast, and that the govern"ent o% "an on
earth $as out o% har"ony $ith the Way o% Geaven, the govern"ent o% the
Universe((( /o Buddha, the seond %igure in the #ainting, li%e on earth $as
bitter, %illed $ith attah"ents and desires that led to su%%ering((()n order to
%ind #eae, the Buddhist onsidered it neessary to transend the ,$orld o%
dust- and reah 7irvana, literally a state o% ,no $ind-(((
/o +aoE/se, the har"ony that naturally e4isted bet$een heaven and earth
%ro" the very beginning ould be %ound by anyone at anyti"e(((.ording to
+aoE/se, the "ore "an inter%ered $ith the natural balane #rodued and
governed by the universal la$s, the %urther a$ay har"ony retreated into the
distane((( . basi #rini#le o% +aoE/se5s teahing $as that this Way o% the
Universe ould not be ade6uately desribed in $ords, and that it $ould be
both insulting to its unli"ited #o$er and to the intelligent hu"an "ind to
atte"#t to do so( Still, its nature ould be understood, and those $ho ared
the "ost about it, and the li%e %ro" $hih it $as inse#arable, understood it
)n the #ainting, $hy is +aoE/se s"iling3 .%ter all that vinegar that re#resents
li%e "ust ertainly have an un#leasant taste, as the e4#ressions on the other
t$o "en indiate( But, through $or'ing in har"ony $ith li%e5s
iru"stanes, /aoist understanding hanges $hat others "ay #ereive as
negative into so"ething #ositive( Fro" the /aoist #oint o% vie$, sourness and
bitterness o"e %ro" the inter%ering and una##reiative "ind( +i%e itsel%,
$hen understood and utili;ed %or $hat is it, is s$eet(
So to #ereive li%e as s$eet, $e "ust e"brae li%e %or $hat it is, and be
a##reiate $hen things are in balane( B% ourse, so"eti"es things are $ay
out o% $a', $hih is $hy $e get so involved in the o""unity the $ay $e
do( We are about other #eo#le, and the $orld $e live in( Ino$ing that our
ations and $ords a%%et others, $e try to s#read love by #ratiing $hat $e
believe in(
/hat #assion is beauti%ul( /he light is nourishing( When $e are %eeling
de#leted, $e loo' to our neighbors, %riends, lovers, to hel# us %eel nourished(
We "ust re"e"ber to %eed ourselves %irst( +i'e $hen you are on an air#lane(
/he %irst o4ygen "as' goes on youC )% you don5t save yoursel%, you are not
going to be able to save anyone else(
So ) say, When you %eel the light o% love shine %ro" $ithin you, 'no$ that is
the light o% divine love inside you( .s you share that light $ith others, you
are sharing divinity( .s your love "ulti#lies, so $ill blessings abound( +ove
the light that is $ithin yoursel%( )n doing so, you are e"braing the Divine
+ight $ithin yoursel%, that #oint o% light that you are on this great
interonneted $eb $ill be nurtured and gro$( Lour #ri"ary lover is the
Divine and yoursel% , as they are #art o% the sa"e( When you have nurtured
yoursel%, you $ill %ind the love s#illing out o% you( So s#read the light o% love
by sharing your abundane( Do not be greedy $ith your love( For those $ho
reeive it $illingly and o#enly $ill share their light $ith you and so $ill
"ulti#ly in abundane( .nything you do not need to nurture yoursel%, use to
nurture others( /o nurture and love one another in divine light, you "ust %irst
be able to reogni;e the light $ithin another( When you share inti"ay, you
are e"braing and o""uniating a "utual understanding o% love( )n doing
so, love $ill "ulti#ly thereby #ro"oting balane, and asting a$ay %ears(
Divine love does not reogni;e gender or se4uality( )% the natural balane o%
love is suh that #eo#le %eel guided to share their bodies, hearts, or lives, $ith
one another, the boundaries o% love are only as lear as the boundaries $hih
nurture and su##ort eah o% the #eo#le e4#eriening love $ith one another(
+et no hu"an la$ ditate $hat is Divine +ove, but let the light o% god, our
higher #o$er, our #assion, guide our hearts to share love in $hatever $ay is
"ost natural and har"onious %or our o$n s#irits(
) love the line %ro" Donovan5s song ,Ga##iness- , ha##iness runs in a
irular "otion, thought is li'e a little boat u#on the sea, everybody is a #art
o% everything any$ay, you an have everything i% you let yoursel% be-
Just let yoursel% Be( .llo$ yoursel% to be $hat is "ost natural %or you( )% that
"eans that you attend M di%%erent o""ittee "eeting every $ee', volunteer,
and only slee# 4 hours a night, so be it( K
Br you have to ta'e 2 na#s a day, but you al$ays "a'e sure to ti# your server
and a"#le a"ount beause its all you an do to hel# the"( Br "aybe you
never see" to be able to get out o% the house, beause there are al$ays
hildren there( 7ot even &ust your hildren, but neighborhood hildren, and
your 'ids5 %riends( Lou are e4hausted( Why you3 Beause you are #roviding a
sa%e s#ae( Lou are sharing love( ?ven $hen you don5t have enough energy to
leave your houseC Lou are Still giving ba' in a $ay that $or's %or you(
Balane isn5t easyC Don5t get "e $rong( We still %eel #ain, su%%ering, stress,
an4iety( We still 6uestion $hether $e are doing the right thing( .re $e really
su##osed to be going through all these hallenges3 We an taste the vinegar
o% li%e and s#it out the sour, or $e an be than'%ul that the vinegar is sour, &ust
the $ay it is su##osed it be(
Lou "a'e the hoie every day that you "ove %or$ard( /hat is $hy you are
here( /hat is $hy ) a" here( .nd ) than' you %or inluding "e in this