In this week’s blog, our Director of Member Development and Licensed Unity Teacher, Bob Withrow, shares a bit about his recent journey to Egypt and some of the learning and unlearning that transpired as part of this mystical journey.
My journey, or at least my intent to journey to Egypt, began almost 46 years ago with a course I took as a freshman in college. The course was Ancient Civilizations and the professor, whose name I cannot remember, was a George Carlin lookalike. I soon learned that he was also an Egyptologist who had travelled to Egypt extensively, doing both historical research and archeology. I can vaguely remember being both intrigued and excited about the ancient Egyptians – their religion, culture and their quite rapid rise with regard to understanding and expressing an understanding of mathematics, engineering, architecture and celestial science. I knew that someday. . . . . .
It’s January 2017 and my wife and I are booked on a 14 day Spiritual Journey through Egypt including Aswan, Luxor, Cairo, Giza and St. Catherine’s (Mt. Sinai). Knowing that we want to “make the most” of our journey, we ordered one of the Great Courses entitled “The History of Ancient Egypt” and after listening to 48 one-hour lectures (whew !!) we were both ready to “make the most” of our 14 days in Egypt. We learned such amazing facts, such as the following facts about the Great Pyramid at Giza:
- It was built about 2500BCE
- It consists of2.3M blocks weighing between 2 and 30 tons each.
- The mathematical constants phi and pi are exactly depicted by the great pyramids dimensions.
- When viewed with two other ancient pyramids (not the ones close by) the belt of the constellation Orion is exactly duplicated.
Honestly, these CD lectures were a wonderful informational foundation and, because of them we were able to enjoy what we saw and experienced so much more.
But what about the spiritual lesson of this blog. . . . . . it’s coming.
Actually the awareness, or more accurately, the shift in my spiritual awareness began happening with my first gaze upon the great pyramid on our first evening in Egypt. My awareness continued to expand with every amazing temple, tomb, obelisk, or pyramid we saw. While I could gaze upon their individual and collective enormity in scale, or their engineering feat relating to precision or logistics or their celestial alignment . . . . IT DIDN’T REALLY MATTER. While I could hear the words spoken or read the words written about the theories of how these amazing structures were built or, even a more basic question as to how the rapid expansion of knowledge occurred in such a short period of time in the Nile River valley . . . . IT DIDN’T REALLY MATTER. What I allowed myself to do was to release and lay down my sense-need to understand and explain and, rather, just allow myself to be absorbed into the wonderment and experience of this amazing place, of these amazing ancient people and this amazing time of human expression on a scale, that even today, I couldn’t comprehend. I was able to lay down preconceived beliefs to open to the possibility of something so much bigger. By releasing and suspending my need-to-know with appreciation and gratitude. . . for this time, for this place, for my companions . . . in this moment, my heart connected and aligned with the spiritual energy that was clearly present within each of us and with those that had travelled this planet before us. THIS IS WHAT MATTERED!
And there is one other thing that I was able to release . . . . . .
Let’s face it, the Hebrew Scriptures don’t paint ancient Egypt in a great light. Given the stories told about Egypt, according to the Israelites stories in Exodus, it’s understandable why they disliked it so. Even in the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, authored by Unity co-founder Charles Fillmore, Egypt is metaphysically defined as not a great place: words such as misery, distress and darkness of ignorance are found. Not a place to dwell any longer than necessary.
So, the spiritual conundrum I was faced with while “blissing out” in Egypt was. . . why was it that I, along with many other modern visitors can feel and experience a sacred energy in the face of such contradicting depictions? I was being offered another opportunity to suspend one belief in order to open to another.
I think the answer for me may lie in how I, as a student of Unity teachings, eagerly allow myself to explore the Bible and view it as the story of the unfoldment of human consciousness, not only for the collective of humankind but for each of us individually. Said another way, each story in the Bible can not only be read literally but can also be interpreted to uncover deeper meanings and revelations to ourselves.
So, by releasing the literal story found in Exodus, I could see and feel and align with the beauty of the people of ancient Egypt, with the beauty of the people of today’s Egypt, with the beauty of a polytheistic religion, with the beauty of a monotheistic faith. I could suspend all evaluative thoughts and just experience each wonderful moment.
One day, if you are able, make the time to experience another place, another people, another culture, or another form of faith.