Magic Number

I’m not normally the kind of person who can tell you the date. Most of the time, I’m lucky if I can tell you what day of the week it is. If it’s not Sunday, it’s better to ask Jenny.

But I know that today is December the twelfth. 12/12. I know today’s date because I’ve been invited to attend about a half dozen different events, actual and virtual, commemorating this spiritually auspicious number.

I’m honored. Thrilled, in fact. But I’m not going.

When you move into a new house, somebody you know will do some math on the numbers of your street address and let you know that, because they add up to 12, or 3, or 144, you’re going to have a great experience. I love that for all kinds of reasons. I love the positive outlook. I adore the desire to seek deeper meaning in the seemingly mundane. And I think it’s really great that, no matter what the starting number is, you can arrive at an optimistic prognostication if you work at it. Just like life.

Numbers are a human invention; we made them up. We did so for good reason. Numbers make it possible for us to go to the grocery store or put somebody into orbit. But in nature there’s no such thing as 5, for example. We created the concept of date and time so that we can all show up at the movies at the same time, but the whole thing is arbitrary. We could live according to a ten-hour day or a seventeen-month calendar if we wanted to.

Remember when the Israelites escaped from Pharaoh? You know the story. We talk about it all the time. As soon as Moses turns his back, Edward G. Robinson and the rest of the gang make a golden calf and start worshipping it. That’s a bad move, because it goes against everything they believe and everything that parted the Red Sea. But there’s more. Worshipping a thing that, a moment or two before, you yourself created, is pretty silly.

Some other time we can dig deeper into that narrative; it’s interesting, for example, that the golden calf was made of melted-down jewelry. Jewelry is an outer adornment and only has the value that we assign to it.

Part of the moral of that story, and perhaps part of the meaning of the commandment that addresses it, is that all the power, love, healing, and freedom you want is already there, inside you. But you know that, too. So let’s say it a little differently: God is not an effect. God is Cause. Life works better to the degree that we stop dwelling on results and start focusing on Source.

The opinions of others, the numbers on your mailbox, your zodiac sign, and the current date have something in common: none of them can tell you who you are. Your identity comes from someplace deeper, and no place outside of you.

Not everybody is crazy about Daylight Savings time. I love the idea of it, though. At some point, a bunch of folks got together and decided that it was an hour earlier. That decision, in turn, impacted the way we live our lives. My dog isn’t interested in Daylight Savings. He was not consulted. You know what I’m going to say here. In the natural world, there’s no such thing as 5:00. The Sun comes up when the Sun comes up. That’s it. Everything else is a matter of opinion.

I’m not crazy about the idea that more good, and thus more God, happens at a certain place, date, or time, or for a specific group of people who got the memo. I just can’t get my head around the notion that Spirit is mediated by the calendar. I’m pretty sure the only number that God is interested in is One.

There is a place in you that is beyond time, space, and material concerns. There’s a part of you that is not a matter of opinion. The love in your heart is too big for anything like that. Let’s find ways to get in touch with it, and to use what we find to make a difference in the world.

In the meantime, though, I’m all in favor of the 12/12 gatherings. Just as Daylight Savings time is a group decision that changes our lives, we have the power to decide that today is blessed. Let’s do it.

Let’s do it tomorrow, too.