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The life cycle of glamour and illusion
by Rev. Howard Ray Carey


The typical life cycle of glamour and illusion ---- resulting in bondage, leading to insight through difficulties and then to release into greater service ---- is told and re-told in the accounts of many biblical characters. One of the most graphic and complete of such stories is that of Joseph, favorite among the 12 sons of the patriarch Jacob. It is related in Genesis, chapters 37 through 48.

We are introduced to Joseph at age 17 as a proud young dreamer, showing his immaturity with very poor judgment. This is seen in his boastful sharing, first with his brothers and then with his father, of his haughty dreams of superiority over the rest of the family. He said to his 11 brothers:

  • ''Hear this dream which I have dreamed: behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose and stood upright; and behold, your sheaves gathered round it and bowed down to my sheaf.''

The next dream, likewise boastfully reported, this time to his brothers and his father, showed the sun and moon (symbolizing his parents) and 11 stars bowing down to him. In addition it seems that he strutted before his brothers in his special 'long robe with sleeves' or 'coat of many colors' (King James translation), which his father had made especially for this favorite offspring, son of Rachel, his favorite wife.

Is it any wonder, then, that Joseph got into trouble with his jealous brothers, incurring such hatred that they plotted to kill him? His brother Reuben, the oldest and thus responsible for his life, saved him from that fate. But he was thrown into a deep, dry pit (how often our pride and immature actions throw us into a dry pit), and from there he was sold into slavery in Egypt. There he became a trusted slave of Potiphar, captain of the Pharaoh's guard. Then, accused (falsely, we are told) of trying to seduce Potiphar's glamorous wife, he was dismissed from his position and thrown into Pharaoh's prison. Even though incarcerated, Joseph did his level best and was soon made a 'trusty' and put in charge of other prisoners.

There he correctly interpreted the dreams of the king's baker and cup-bearer. Later the cup-bearer, after being restored to his honored service to the monarch, brought Joseph before Pharaoh to solve the puzzle of the ruler's troublesome dreams. The first dream was that of seven plump cows being devoured by seven lean and starving ones. The other dream showed seven withered ears of corn replacing seven plump ears. Joseph saw the two dreams as one, and precognitively interpreted them to show that Egypt was to have seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. Joseph's wise service was rewarded by his being released from prison and given authority, next to Pharaoh, over all Egypt. His big job was to supervise the storage of surplus grain during the seven years of abundance, and distribute it during the seven famine years.

The famine became so severe in Palestine, as well as in Egypt, that it brought Joseph's brothers, and eventually his father, to be united with him. Not recognizing him in his royal robes, they bowed low before him, thus fulfilling the prophecy of his youth. But this did not happen until Joseph had been long in bondage, had learned wisdom, and given himself in unselfish service which proved to be international in scope.

Isn't this the story of our lives? Let us ask ourselves: are we still at the adolescent level, where our glamour and pride are bringing us down to Egypt, selling us into slavery to the lower self and its demands? Have our separativeness, hostilities and fears thrown us into the prison house of lower desires? In the midst of bondage are we beginning to find wisdom, relating to the Inner Ruler of our lives, and beginning to interpret that Ruler's dreams for unselfish service in the way of sharing? If this is true of us we soon will experience true release and the way of wider service. Best of all, this will bring us, like Joseph, to the place of being united with all our brothers and sisters.

Yes, and finally to being united with our Father, the Monad or divine Spirit within. But no doubt the widest interpretation of this allegory is to be found in relation to humanity as a whole. As we witness the many budding thrusts toward sharing, joining in this as fully as we feel we can; as we marvel at the promising developments in international and intercultural exchange, and much more; can we not perceive that humanity is in the process of emerging from its long night of separativeness and greed into the new Aquarian dawn of its Soul nature of love and sharing?

Let us be grateful in this challenging hour when the Christ and many of the Masters of Wisdom are taking their places, here on the physical plane, in the key cities of our world. How great it is that They are ready to help you and me to do our part in the great task before us ---- helping to lift ourselves and our brothers out of darkness into light, from the unreal to the real, and from death to immortality, as together we

  • ''Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.''

This article is a chapter from The Joy of Christ's Coming This book by the late Rev. Howard Ray Carey was published by Share International Foundation in 1988. It is not currently available in hard copy form. Copyright Share International Foundation.  Biblical quotations are taken from the Revised Standard version unless otherwise indicated. 


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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005