As spring returns and my fantasy turns to baseball, I am reminded of an old joke about three umpires in a bar. The first one says, “There’re balls, and there’re strikes, and I just call ’em as I see ’em.” The second umpire, trying to top the first, says, “Well, there’re balls, and there’re strikes, and I just call ’em as they are.” Finally, after a long pause, the third umpire says, “There’re balls, and there’re strikes, but they ain’t nothin’ until I call ’em.”
Funny ... and enlightening. I was in my mid-30s, standing on very shaky ground, when I realized the truth spoken by that third umpire.
Our world, and our world view, is shifting daily. The discoveries in science, particularly quantum physics, and an influx of Eastern thought into our western society have had a significant impact of our world view. Thoughts, information, emotions, matter — all are energy, each with its own unique rate of vibration. While we are not just our bodies, not just our thoughts, not just our emotions, we are all of those and more. Part of “me” is the observer, the “me” that can stand apart and watch those thoughts and feelings and actions. And, according to quantum physics, without the observer, there is no thing to observe.
When an energy unit of emotion or thought or desire for action arises in us, there is that within us that gives a name or label to that energy. “So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name” (Genesis 2:19).
Those three “arbiters of truth on the baseball diamond” have taken us directly to the heart of the creation process. We create our reality because we choose the “labels” for our feelings and emotions and because we choose the thoughts we hold in mind. So often the choice of label is based on unconscious filters and conditioning and occurs so quickly that we are even unaware of our part in the process. The question is how often are those choices made consciously and how often are they unconscious?
When I awoke to the truth that “they ain’t nothing till I call ’em,” I also realized that I had not claimed my power to consciously create, and had, in effect, given it to things and people outside myself.
I believe that this faculty to name, to label, is one of the more important powers, if not the most important power, we have — that power to choose and label our emotions, to choose the thought we will hold about something, without being ruled by our external world or unconscious mind. We are awakened to this power when we reach the level of awareness or consciousness that says just because someone else called it sad, it doesn’t mean that it is sad to me; just because someone else calls that love doesn’t mean it is love for me; just because the group, family, community believes it to be true does not mean it is truth for me.
Our power to choose what thought we will have, what emotions we will feel, how we will name or label it, requires us to be still and breathe, not merely to react from an unconscious place. It requires that we be open to the possibility that the filters that we are looking through in any given situation or feeling through in an emotion are in fact limiting ones. They are the ones we’ve been brought up with and possibly modified over time as we have done our inner work. And they are limiting filters, until we can work through to the possibility that we don’t have all the answers, that we don’t have to be right, that there may be another way to see or feel.
Perhaps it is at that point that we can begin to understand what Jesus was talking about when he said you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free — the truth that we are co-creators with the Divine because we are all heirs to the Kingdom. At that absolute level, we are all one, perfect in potential.
It is part of the reason for who and what we are, unique manifestations of that singular Oneness, that Godness, that we are here to create consensual boundaries and guidelines with each other for how we are going to work together in this world. What is an acceptable way of being in community for all? What is considered truth and untruth?
There was a time when slavery was an acceptable condition in society. We find that not to be a truth today.
These shifts are part of a continuum of growth and evolution. We have broadened our horizons and expanded our understanding of how our world works. The filters that we use to view our world have been expanded, replaced or removed and so we see that there is more to truth that what we had previously thought. The Earth is no longer flat.
So when we consciously claim this power to define our own reality/beingness, what we are doing is accepting the ability and responsibility to co-create. We affirm that we are the vehicle that the Divine uses to create, and we do that by making choices in thought, word, emotion and action as we move in the flow of Spirit.
When I have a feeling, when energy moves through me, when something happens to me, I put a label on it, either consciously or unconsciously. And once I label it, I own it. I create it. It wasn’t anything until I called it.
I believe that Jesus was affirming this: when we know the truth down where we know how to grow fingernails that we are one with Spirit as he was one with Spirit and when we know that we have that power to co-create, we will then be free of all the judgment and all of the restriction and filters that have kept us small, limited and feeling unworthy. When we know that freedom, we will create from a place of oneness, peace, joy, abundance, compassion and love.
Choice, choice, choice! There is power in choice. And I know that while God throws the pitch, we are the ones to call them balls and strikes.
The Rev. Toni Fish is spiritual leader at Unity in Frederick in downtown Frederick.