What the heck does that mean? Are you fully expressing life? What is “expressing life”?
You can find a lot of quotes from different spiritual teachers who advise us to “express our life fully” and similar words. In my writings and teachings, I have said the same thing. But what are we really talking about?
I got to thinking about this phrase recently when I was walking my dog, Penny. She’s a beautiful and loving chocolate lab with a lot of energy and a zest for life. I give her a lot of leash (using one of those retractable ones) so that she can roam around and investigate life. She loves smelling the world, running through the tall grass, leaving little bits of her urine everywhere that interests her and in general living fully and expressing herself. She is a great teacher to me about fully enjoying and expressing life (except for the leaving pee everywhere thing).
Penny teaches by example. That may be the best way when considering how to “express life”, but that isn’t going to stop me from taking a moment to “over intellectualize” it. Here we go.
Ernest Holmes’ Guidance on Making Good Choices
One of my favorite quotes from spiritual teacher Ernest Holmes is his guidance on how to know if a choice we are making is a good one. I have written on it before, but here it is:
“The criterion for any man as to what is right or wrong for him is not to be found in some other man’s judgment. The criterion is: Does the thing I wish to do express more life, more happiness, more peace for myself, and at the same time harm no one? If it does, it is right. It is not selfish. But if it is done at the expense of anyone, then in such degree we are making a wrong use of the Law.”
This is a good yardstick for determining if our choice is in alignment with our greater good….our personal greater good and our collective greater good. Yet, when Holmes calls us to “express more life”, what is he really talking about? To get at that, let’s break down one of his quotes on the topic of “life”:
“Life. The animating Principle of Being . . . that Inner Something that makes everything live. Life and Power are necessary attributes of a Limitless Being, and go hand in hand to complete a Perfect Being. Life is That Which Lives, and Power is the Energy with which it operates. Considering Life and Power as a combined unity of Causation, we see that they constitute the underlying basis of all manifestation, visible and invisible.”
I think that we can agree that what we think of as “life” is some intangible something that is in us that “animates” us, makes us move and interact with the world we are living in. We then see that Holmes links life with power and points out that power is the energy with which life operates. I think that most of us can agree that there is some “energy” that allows this expression of life to be animated. However, is this simply “material energy” obtained by our consuming worldly resources (primarily through eating, drinking and breathing) that we then “burn” to “run the body”? Or is this “energy” some more pervasive source that we are tapping into, life a “life energy” or “Qi”? Or, is it both? How you answer those questions really tells a lot about you and your worldviews.
But Holmes is telling us more here. Here’s a clue when you are reading him — when he capitalizes a word, he is imparting to you his belief that he is talking about an aspect of God or Spirit or the Infinite Intelligence that is embedded in the universe. He is talking about the macrocosm of the universe rather than the microcosm of our individual area of the universe. Hence, when he says that “Life is That Which Lives”, he is talking about the Big Life of God. When he describes that “Power is the Energy with which it operates it”, he is attributing both the Power and Energy to the Divine Source.
In fact, you may want to re-read the above quote plugging in the idea of “God” to accompany each capitalized word. When you do that, you will see that he is telling us that there is really only one Life, that that “inner something” that we feel and agree is animating ourselves and everything that we describe as being “alive” is coming from that one Source. And, on top of that, the Power that is moving those things that we call “alive” comes from that one Source as well. So at the microcosm level of the Life that we recognize within us as individuals… and in the microcosm of the Life we see all around us in others… and in all of the movements of those expressions of Life….they all come from the macrocosm of the Life of Spirit.
Simply stated, Life expressing in you and I (and everything) is simply the Divine Source of Infinite Intelligence expressing “as us”. You are “God doing You”. I am “God doing Me”. Penny is “God doing Penny”.
Seen in this light, we see the logical truth of Holmes when he says that when we combine into a Unity the Life and Power expressing as every living thing, we are getting to “the underlying basis of all manifestation, visible and invisible.”
So, let’s take this outlook on what Life and Power and God are and read another Holmes’ quote:
“What is Life, in Its broadest sense? It is the impartation of the Spirit in us, the Source of everything we are, or hope to be, or have; and It gives in joy and without reservation, in complete abandonment. Life is a universal quality that is shared alike by all animate things, and in the human reaches its highest degree of expression. Everything in the universe lives only because it has a Divine spark incarnated in it; and we might say this spark appears to have different degrees of expression. It makes the grass grow, the bird sing. It is the genius of the artist, the dance of the dancer, the message of Jesus. The conclusion that God is all there is means that all that is is God-occupied, God-personalized, God-individualized, God in everything as that thing. God is the givingness!”
Hopefully, at this point, this quote makes sense without further commentary?
“Life” by Other New Thought Sources
Now, keeping this idea of Life in mind, use it as the means of reading the following quotes from a few other New Thought authors and teachers:
“My mind is a center of Divine operation. The Divine operation is always for expansion and fuller expression, and this means the production of something beyond what has gone before, something entirely new, not included in the past experience, though proceeding out of it by an orderly sequence of growth. Therefore, since the Divine cannot change its inherent nature, it must operate in the same manner with me; consequently, in my own special world, of which I am the center, it will move forward to produce new conditions, always in advance of any that have gone before.” ― Thomas Troward
“Because I am what I am, I may be what I will to be. My individuality is one of the modes in which the Infinite expresses itself, and therefore I am myself that very power which I find to be the innermost within of all things.” ― Thomas Troward
“Let the God within you express itself through you in the world without.” – Charles Fillmore
“God expresses God, and that expression appears as you.” ― Joel S. Goldsmith
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew. Seek, therefore, not to find out Who You Are, seek to determine Who You Want to Be.” ― Neale Donald Walsh
What did you get from reading these selective quotes? Here are a few things that I hope are coming “alive” for you:
- Reinforcement that each of us are God expressing as us individually.
- That the entire world is a collective expression of God expressing as all the Lives on the Planet.
- That in our individual expression of the One, Spirit calls us to be creative, to always be birthing some newness in the world.
- That we have the free will to choose what we create.
- That in the choices we make of the expression of our individual creativity, we choose things that are useful, compassionate, honorable, make a difference and lead us towards creation of who we really want to be.
Perhaps, if we are living our lives with this understanding, then we will be living as a “beneficial presence”. Maybe we will be doing what is termed “fully expressing life”.
Some Concluding Thoughts
I have always loved the idea of what Holmes calls the “creative urge”. I can so relate to it. There is some urge in me to create. Can you feel that urge? Holmes describes it this way:
“There is a creative urge back of everything you do — an urge to express life, joy, and happiness; to reach out to everything that lives as though you belong in the universe in which you live; to be one with it and have an enthusiastic zest for living. Man’s nature is such that it is necessary for him to express life, to come into the fulfillment of joy and happiness, and he is disconsolate until this happens.”
We each feel this urge whether or not we believe or realize that this urge comes from Spirit. We simply say words to the effect that “I am me, I am here living this life and I have things I want to do.” Then we can go about living life and creating and expressing life without any conscious awareness of the source of this urge. Spirit calls us to fully express our lives without concern that it is Spirit that has embedded that Life and Power in us. Penny teaches me this truth each day.
However, I also believe that as we “discover ourselves” and the truth of our interconnectedness and Oneness, we can ramp up our expression of life to higher and greater levels. Our outward actions of expressing life may look the same, but our inner understanding of Who We Really Are and the meaning that embodies our actions now knowing that they are “God expressions” brings us to higher states of awareness. We will more consciously consider whether the thing we wish to do expresses more life for that One Spirit and at the same time bringing ourselves and the world more happiness, more peace and harming no one?
So are you fully expressing Life? Are you consciously choosing “God doing you”? May we affirm each day that we are aware of our truth, that we are expressions of the One born here to enjoy this Life and to live it to the fullest. Penny doesn’t have to affirm it, she just “does it”. May we all reach that state of enlightenment.
Blessings, Mark Gilbert