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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Finding The Bigger

Dec 01, 2015 10:44AM ● By Donald Graves

"The self is neither solid nor fixed. Further, we see that when awareness is focused on something larger than the small self—a goal, beauty or a desire to help others—our mood is happier and our energy freer.” – Diane Musho Hamilton, Everything Is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution

A man had a vision, a grand idea, and it took a decade to sprout, but when it did, his country’s men and women grew that dream into a possibility. With the man’s continued attention and efforts, the possibility took further form through the talents of an artist and sculptor and the architects and engineers who could turn the vision into reality. Simultaneously, a different group caught the vision and began fundraising efforts to pay for its completion.

It took two countries and hundreds of thousands of players to turn what began as one man’s idea into something now seen as one of the important sites on this planet: The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World. Most do not know the statue’s real name or the story behind its creation, and both are worthy of discovering.

A plaque inside the museum contains the iconic words, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” When these words are seen in the symbolic sense like Edouard de Laboulaye’s vision, they are not a call for people to move to the United States of America. They are Liberty’s call. They are Liberty’s call to those who aren’t free. This is a very big idea, and an idea worthy of statue-hood.

Victor Hugo wrote, “To the sculptor, form is everything and is nothing. It is nothing without the spirit—with the idea it is everything.”

Abstractions, concepts, metaphors and symbols are important aspects of a developing consciousness. If a person cannot see the forest for the trees or cannot see the patterns behind experiences, that person will tend to take everything literally and personally. If that person takes everything personally, life fills with high drama and suffering comes easily. Taking life only literally can be a setup to experience more trauma than freedom.

In particular, consciousness is “awareness”. It is the point of view a person lives from. If a person’s “live-from” is small and literal, that person will tend to suffer more than another person who sees life more philosophically. Cultivating a bigger point of view is the same as expanding consciousness. Expanding consciousness is the same as “getting above what is going on” or “getting over it”, and is about looking at life philosophically.

Developing a bigger idea about life can be easy, or it can be difficult. The education programs at Center for Spiritual Living Tucson are designed to make it easier. The classes and workshops, the Sunday messages, uplifting music and guest speakers all contribute to getting a bigger idea about life, which is where true freedom can be found.

Reverend Donald Graves holds 10:30 a.m. Sunday services at Center for Spiritual Living Tucson, 3231 North Craycroft Rd., Tucson. Meditation is also held at 10 a.m. For more information, call 520-319-1042 or visit See ad, page 26.