August 4, 2004
The illusion of the inner circle
At the University of London, in 1944, C.S. Lewis delivered a speech titled, “Beware the desire to become part of the ‘Inner Ring’. The 'Inner Ring” refers to our basic desire to be accepted; to be ‘inside’ instead of ‘outside’ of a particular group, whatever that group may be. For instance a group of distinguished professors, or one of the top 10 Entrepreneurs in the City, or part of the Urban League, or a member of the Choir, or a Deacon of the church, or even just an “IN” group of friends. C.S. Lewis states that there are even Rings inside of Rings. Humorously, he says that sometimes we know when we are Inside of the ‘Inner Ring’ and sometimes we think we are but are not, and sometimes ARE but don’t’ think we are.
St. Augustine, in about the year 400, in his books, “Confessions,” talks about another kind of ‘Inner Ring’ or his belonging in and conversion to the ‘Christian Life.’ He prays to God to be part of the ‘Inner Ring’, but is afraid of giving up his Worldly ring , to ‘satisfy’ his lust, rather than ‘have it extinguished’. His desire was to be accepted by God, and yet be part of another ring, satisfying his worldly pleasures.
And at the end of a 12 year search, St. Augustine cries out in anguish to God to deliver him from his worldly lusts, and make him part of the ‘Inner Ring’ and God reveals that he has been In the ring all along and God answered his prayers, and his mothers’ prayers and his friends’ prayers. All St. Augustine had to do was stop allowing the flesh to be part of the Inner Ring. When He begged to be part of the inner ring, the answer he received from God was this:
13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
But even perceiving the need to “get into Gods inner circle, Saint Augustine tried to cling to his own circle, confessing to God that he wanted to get in, and he wanted God to answer his prayers, “but not yet” The illusion of the “Inner Ring’ is really the illusion of our own ‘insiders circles’ that we create for ourselves. We make them up, we try to get into them, we claim they ‘ARE’ the ring to be in. And we can spend our entire lives searching for THE ‘Inner Ring’ to be in, but God says, “You ARE in, now Realize it. God says everything is United in God and the Kingdom of God is here: Luke 17:21, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
And (Qur'an 50:16) "We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.” (Qur'an 2:115) “To God belongs the East and the West: wherever you turn, there is the Face of Allah; Allah is All -Embracing, All-Knowing."
C.S. Lewis wasn’t wrong that many ‘Inner Rings’ exist, and we all crave to be in them, but we create these ‘Inner Rings’ because we don’t know who we are. The illusion is that the ‘Eternal or Spiritual Ring’ is a secret society, or specific sect of a specific religion, or that you need special wisdom, or have a Scholar’s education, or a special initiation to be part of the ‘Inner Ring’ of God. The illusion is that we are not already Inside of the circle. The illusion is that we have to search for the key to unlock the door to the ‘Inner Ring’. The illusion is that we are separate from that which we are; to be totally accepted, loved, whole, happy. So the idea of an ‘Inner Ring’ is an illusion. When we look at life in it’s entirety, and the true nature of existence, we see that we are already in it and there is no ‘Inner Ring’ we need to belong to, because we are and do.
The ‘Inner ring’ was created for us, and Is us in Unity with God. We already know this. We already have the key, which is Gods holy name. One Ring, everything from the East to the West, God IS the “Inner Ring’ and we are already in it. Sometimes we know we are in it, or sometimes we think we are but are trying to run from it at the same time, But always, we ARE the Inner Ring, and God never stops talking to us, and God is NEVER separate from us.
A plant in the garden, grows up among the other plants. And slowly becomes aware of itself. Looking around, it thinks, “Is this all I am?” Is there more? Oh, look, over there, flowers. They are So blessed. Oh, and look at those majestic Trees! They reach the sun, they must know the answer.” So the plant proceeds, however miraculously, to uproot itself, in search of truth. The plant, however, failed to see the true nature of the unity of itself with the earth. And lying there on the ground looking up at the sun, realizes, “I was bound to life itself I see, and now I wither and die.”
A fish jumps out of the water and gasps for air, ”before, I was bound to life itself I see, and now I cannot breathe.”
The ‘Inner Ring’ we seek to enter is already sustaining us, is life itself, is God, is you, and I, and God as one. So the concept of an ‘Inner Ring’ that we have to find or join, is an illusion, when we become aware of our true natures. We don’t have to join it, we have to stop trying to get out.
If there is one burning message that God would like every human being to know, it is this, both simply and profoundly, God says, “I love you.”
Posted by carl1236 at August 4, 2004 8:38 PM | Knowing God