Beyond Words & Thoughts: Chapter 3, Thou Shalt Not Make Unto Thee Any Graven Image
- ... Every day hundreds go to communion service, take a sip of wine, eat a piece of bread, and then think that they have communed with the Christ. Maybe up in their minds they have or in their imagination. But while the church service of communion is symbolic of true communion and is taken as if it were the real thing, it cannot be real because nobody can receive communion until he and the Christ meet within. True communion is an actual experience that takes place within when a person comes face to face with the Christ, when the Christ speaks or imparts Itself in some way or other. That is communion. We have been led to believe that Jesus' crucifixion saves us from all punishment for our sins. According to that, when we are born, we should be provided with a certificate stating, "Sin all you like because Jesus was crucified, and we hereby give you a license to enjoy life." This is not true. And yet, symbolically, it is true because when the Christ is risen in you from the tomb where It is buried, your sins are forgiven you, and from then on, there are no more sins. The forgiveness of the Christ is always accompanied by the words, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." 5 You never quite forget that because it comes with a sharp voice. You say, "I thought You were so gentle." Yes, the Christ is gentle when the promise is, "Thy sins are forgiven," 6 but the admonition that follows is a reminder to change your ways. Everything in the Bible is truth when it is experienced. You can have Pharaoh at the back of your neck and the Red Sea in front of you, and you can come out without even "the smell of fire," 7 if you have the Experience. That, however, does not mean just reading the Bible, quoting it, or memorizing it. Anything and everything can happen to this world when it is living as a branch of a tree that is cut off. But life ceases to be a matter of chance after you begin the experience of surrendering your life to this inner Spirit, and then, under the ...
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Living Between Two Worlds: Chapter 5, The World Of Material Sense & The World Of Spiritual Discernment
- ~ 5 ~ THE WORLD OF MATERIAL SENSE AND THE WORLD OF SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT WHEN THE MASTER SAID, "My kingdom is not of this world,"1 he implied that there are two worlds. And yet the truth is that there is only one world. God made all that was made, and anything that God did not make was not made. Since God is Spirit, the only world is a spiritual world, and the only man is spiritual man. Then what did the Master mean when he said that his kingdom was not of this world? And what do we mean when we speak of the two worlds as taught in The Infinite Way? First of all, we mean that there is only one world, and it is spiritual. The other world is the materialistic concept that we entertain of the spiritual world; it is not really a world any more than the world of the insane is a real world. The world of the insane is a world lived within the mind, an imaginary world they have conceived. It has no external existence, any more than does the materialistic concept of world that we all accept have an existence separate and apart from mind. The proof of that is that through the development of spiritual discernment we are able to see the world as it is, to see the materialistic concept evaporate and in its place behold a world of harmony. The human being lives in a world of material sense, and this means that he measures life in terms of amounts, weights, and degrees. He ascribes power to germs: good power to some germs and evil power to others. He ascribes powers of good to some individuals and powers of evil to other individuals. He is always conferring power upon someone or something. His entire human experience is made up of a combination of good and evil; he gives power to all kinds of things external to himself. Practically everything good comes from someone else or something else, and practically everything evil comes from some other person or some other thing. He is either the beneficiary or the victim. Rarely does he acknowledge that he has dominion and live out from ...
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Living by the Word: Chapter 2, Spiritual Discernment of the Bible
- Chapter Two Spiritual Discernment of the Bible The Bible, which is given to us as the word of spiritual wisdom, as revelations concerning the kingdom of God, must be spiritually discerned, but today even twenty centuries after the time of the Master, some religionists are still trying to interpret this hidden word of the kingdom literally, and, of course, are failing. There is a spiritual kingdom. There is also the son of God who spiritually discerns the nature of this kingdom, the things of God, the laws of God, and who knows how to live a God-centered life. This kingdom can never be entered with the human mind or human body. It must be spiritually discerned. If the kingdom of God were attained, if the things of God were understood, and if God were known aright, there would be none of the evils so evident on every hand: none of the sins, none of man's inhumanity to man, none of the diseases. All this would be wiped out in the understanding of God, because the understanding of God would leave no trace of sin or disease. Letting Go of the Man of Earth The statement, "My kingdom is not of this world," 1 sets forth very clearly that there is a difference between "My kingdom" and "this world." Later, Paul revealed that there are two men: There is the son of God, and there is "the natural man [who] receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 2 "The natural man" does not have the ability to discern spiritually. And so it is that we are living partly in the world of sense, "this world," and partly in the kingdom of God, but certainly those of us who are on the path are striving to "die" to our humanhood, to "the creature," 3 to "the natural man," in order that we may be reborn spiritually as children of God with spiritual discernment. To all sincere seekers, the question arises: Is there a way for us to drop the man of earth? Can we "die" to it? Can we be reborn of the ...
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The Contemplative Life: Chapter 10, Meditation on Life by Grace
- ~ 10 ~ MEDITATION ON LIFE BY GRACE The greatest spiritual blessings that come into your experience are not brought about so much by what you know of truth as by the degree of silence you can maintain. What you know of truth, that is, of the letter of truth, acts only as a foundation for the real demonstration of spiritual living. Beyond a few simple statements of truth which every truth student must understand and realize, there is little of an intricate or difficult nature that one has to know so far as knowing truth is concerned. The difficult part comes in developing a state of consciousness which enables him to be inwardly still. Except for the realization of the true nature of prayer, which carries with it the understanding that God does not have to be appealed to or used, and the understanding that all the presence, substance, power, and law of God are where you are, silence is far more valuable than all the speech and all the teaching that can be given. That is why a person can usually do far greater work as a practitioner than as a teacher because a teacher is constantly being called upon to speak, and what he says sometimes deflects from the inward realization that God is. To be able to abide in the is-ness of God is far better than all the teaching or talking in the world. It is not what a person says that does the greater works: it is the quiet, peaceful realization. The first and very simple rule is not to reach out to God for something, to be sure that you do not believe you need a God-power, and to realize constantly that your only need is for the realization of God's grace. Aside from that, the less talking you do about what you know the better for you and for those you are helping. This is especially true for those who are teachers because it is when they are not teaching that they are living closest to their spiritual center. Then, they are not thinking and speaking through the mind, saying things that oftentimes sound foolish. Words always sound ...
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The Mystical I: Chapter Three, "I Am Come"
- CHAPTER THREE "I AM COME" From the beginning of this message and from its very first book, The Infinite Way1, it was revealed that God is not to be known but to be experienced, and only when God is experienced are there signs following or is there fruitage. You can talk about God; you can discuss God; you can even decide to change the image of God; or you can make up more synonyms for God; but all this is in the realm of toys, an intellectual game. Actually, it is a form of idolatry because it is the making of graven images, only instead of being made of gold, wood, or stone, these images are built out of the substance of thought. So one concept of God is exchanged for another concept of God, and what you end up with is not God but merely your concept of God, your thought about God. You can see why prayer cannot be fruitful as long as it is addressed to a thought about God, an image of God, or a concept of God. What possible difference could it make if your concept is Jewish, Vedantic, Buddhist, or Christian, as long as all you have is a concept? How can a concept answer prayer? How can a thought in your mind answer prayer? AN IMAGE IN THOUGHT IS NOT GOD From the early days of modern metaphysics, "Truth" has been one of the synonyms for God, so when a person speaks of using truth it really is the same as saying, "Use God." But how can anyone use God? If he could, that would make him greater than God. This would also be true if the word "mind" were used as a synonym for God. Do we not use the mind? If we do, does that not make us greater than mind? Consider the idea held in many quarters that thought is power. If thought is power, then thought is greater than we are, yet we are the creators of thought. Terminology can get us into a great deal of trouble, and merely changing the terminology can get us into more trouble, for to say that that is not God, but this is, is just changing one concept or term for another. There is no use believing that one concept of God is ...
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The Only Freedom: Chapter 4, Progressive Unfoldment
- W Chapter Four Progressive Unfoldment hen you first embark on a spiritual or religious way of life, questions regarding the meaning and use of certain words will inevitably arise. You cannot speak without using words and as you know from consulting any unabridged dictionary, the same word may have many meanings and sometimes not even similar meanings, depending on how it is used. When it comes to religious terminology, this is even more true because people of many different religions use the same words, such as a word like "God", and they believe in that God. But if you were to ask a Roman Catholic about God, you would have one answer, from a Protestant another answer, from a Hebrew still another, from a Vedantist a quite different one, and those following the teachings of Shankara or Zen Buddhism would give even other meanings for God. Yet they all use the word God, and it means something different to each one. In metaphysics the word "Christ" has a different meaning from its meaning in orthodoxy, and the word "prayer" is hardly recognizable from its dictionary meaning. Prayer to most people is a petition to God for something. To other people it is an affirmation of truth. To still others it is wordless but with inner thought, and then to others it is wordless and without thought. So prayer has different meanings for different persons. This is true of every question that has been raised in regard to the Bible. As you study the various approaches to truth, you will find that the teachers use the same words, but that each approach gives to those words its own special meaning. So it is in the Infinite Way. We do not always agree with others on the meaning of words, and others do not agree with us. That is understandable. The main thing is that we ourselves understand what we mean when we use certain words, statements, thoughts, or truths. Affirmations of Truth or Reminders? Affirmations are sometimes used in truth-teachings, that is, a repetition of the same statement ...
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The World Is New: Chapter 11, Spiritual Living
- ~ 11 ~ SPIRITUAL LIVING SPIRITUAL LIVING is not a way of life that will separate us from our present experience, nor will it take us out of our present activity except as we progress. True, it may lift us up into the practice of spiritual healing, or into teaching and lecturing on spiritual subjects, but it will not necessarily remove us from our present life-experience. It will merely enhance the beauties and increase the safety and security of the life we are now living. Jesus taught-and it is on his teaching that The Infinite Way is based-that we are not to leave this world, that we are to be in the world but not of it. We are to be in the world and enjoy liberty, freedom, happiness, contentment, peace, joy, and dominion. He did not say anything about going out into the wilderness and becoming an ascetic; he did not teach going apart from the world and living in the universe removed from the problems of everyday life. Rather, he increased the very loaves and fishes that the people were accustomed to eating. He brought forth gold from the fish's mouth, the same gold that was used as currency in those days. So is it with the spiritual way of living. It is not meant that we should live in poverty, but rather that we should live in infinite abundance without any limitations except the limit of our own ability to accept that abundance. There is no sin in money or in wealth: the sin is in the love or hate of it. It is right for us to be abundantly supplied, but in the spiritual way of living, the concept of wealth must be changed from the material to the spiritual. Suppose we assume that our income comes from our work. The spiritual way of life does not interfere with our income, whether from work, investments, or marriage; but it does prevent our believing that such a source is really the source of the supply. It may be the avenue of supply to us, but not the source. In the spiritual way of living, our reliance is not on the money, the job, the investment, or the ...
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Living by the Word: Chapter 8, Scripture As a Way of Life
- ... no more." 7 There was not to be a probationary period in hell in which to suffer hell's furies, but an immediate forgiveness, being forgiven and forgiving. Love As an Act You must remember that the greatest power on earth, in heaven, or in hell is the power of love; but love is not an emotion, and love is not a word. Love can never be expressed in words. Love is an act. As a matter of fact, the very words, "I love you," can be covering up the opposite. A spoken word of love has no more relationship to love than speaking the word God has any relationship to God. No one is ever going to know God by saying, "God," and no one is ever going to love by saying, "Love." Love is an act, and it is not only an act, it is a series of acts. It must be love in action, which means care, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, consideration, cooperation, and benevolence. It was expressed by Paul in that same way when he said that of all the things that are important, the greatest is love. Yes, the greatest is love; but not the word "love," the act of love. How do we know this from scripture? The Master said very little about love, except to admonish us to love the Lord with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves; but he said a great deal about love in action when he spoke of forgiveness, when he taught the importance of feeding the hungry, healing the sick, visiting the prisoner in prison, consoling the mourner. None of this had anything to do with speech: this all had to do with action. ... All three have to work together in fulfilling the commandments. "The Fast That I Have Chosen" The Hebrew fasts from sunup to sundown. As a matter of fact, that is a good idea, more especially if it is done in the way that is required in the old orthodox temple: to go to the temple in the morning and stay there all day, fasting, praying, cogitating, asking forgiveness for sins. By the time a person leaves the temple in the evening, all his sins are supposed to have been forgiven, and he begins ...
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Living the Illumined Life: Chapter 1, The Now Activity of the Christ
- Chapter One The Now Activity of the Christ The spiritual path is the way through which we enter the spiritual life, and ultimately it leads us to that place where we know beyond all doubt that the spirit of God dwells in us and is living our life. The activity of the Spirit is always fruitful, productive of harmony, peace, joy, and abundance. In spiritual living there is no chance, nor are there accidental events of any nature. Most persons think of going to church, to a lecture on spiritual subjects, or reading a book of spiritual wisdom as if it were a human act, even an act of their own will. This really is not the case at all because human instinct does not lead a person naturally in that direction. It is only when the activity of something greater than one's self has touched an individual's consciousness that he is led to a truth- teaching. So it is that same something that has brought you to the reading of this letter. You would not be doing this if it were not for the activity of the Spirit, the Christ, functioning in you, and functioning as your consciousness. That this Christ function as your life is the goal of spiritual living. This is the ultimate attainment. Letting Go of This World for the Kingdom Truth is not an easy path to walk. Many persons still have the mistaken idea that in coming to truth they are going to find their human problems quickly met and then perhaps they will dangle on some kind of a ninth cloud. The harp has been eliminated, and I am not quite sure what has taken its place. It is true that entering the spiritual path does eliminate many problems-the major discords and inharmonies of our lives-and usually very quickly. However, since eliminating problems is not the primary goal of truth, these outer harmonies indicate that we have merely entered the spiritual path at this stage. The next step to which we must look forward is the overcoming of our human pleasures, human profits, and human harmonies. The basis for this is the Master's ...
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The Master Speaks: Chapter 13, Individual Consciousness
- ~ 13 ~ INDIVIDUAL CONSCIOUSNESS The principle of life, which we all must learn, is that we cannot have anything until we first have the consciousness of that thing. If we were given a million dollars, we probably could not hold on to it, unless, in some way, we had developed the consciousness of a million dollars. That is one of the reasons why fortunes are lost. Those who inherit fortunes, even some of the people who earn them, cannot keep them, because if there is not a consciousness of wealth behind the inheritance or the amassing of a fortune, it will be dissipated, sooner or later, in one way or another. The same principle applies to every situation. In order to have a beautiful home, it is necessary to have the consciousness of a beautiful home. Without that, a home would be only a house, and either its owner might or might not decorate and furnish it in good taste, or it might be furnished by someone else in conformity with the prevailing fashion of the day. The principle of life-the principle of life-is consciousness. We must have the consciousness of a thing in order to have the thing itself. The first step in this work is attaining the conscious awareness of the presence of God. There are many ways of doing this. One method is outlined in The Infinite Way in the chapter on "Meditation," in which, upon awakening in the morning, you fill yourself with the consciousness of truth, with the realization of God's presence. Then, throughout the day, you should continue to recognize and realize the presence and the allness of God. Whether you are receiving or disbursing money, whether you are eating or drinking, always recognize God as the source. Acknowledge God, acknowledge Christ as the reality of your being. If you persist in that throughout the day and evening, even if for only brief periods, you will find that within a short time, your thought will become so spiritualized that your outer experience will be transformed. The statement, "I live; yet not I, but ...
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