The Art of Meditation: Chapter II, The Purpose
- CHAPTER II THE PURPOSE The purpose of meditation is to attain divine grace. Once this grace has been attained in a measure, it takes over our experience and lives our life, performs those things which are given us to do, and makes the crooked places straight. We no longer live by bread alone, but by this inner grace. Satisfying relationships, abundant supply, successful business activity, and creative endeavor are the tangible effects of grace. First must come the inner grace before the things of this world can be added to us; but we can never receive the grace of God so long as we seek it for the purpose of demonstration, that is, seeking God in order to possess some person or thing, or to achieve some place. That is the reason meditation can never be used to demonstrate an automobile, more money, or a better position: meditation is for the purpose of realizing God. In meditation God is revealed as the life of individual being. God is the embodiment of all good. In achieving the experience of God, our good appears as whatever the need may be. We fail if we attempt to gain any thing separate and apart from God. God, Itself, is the good. Prayer or meditation for material things and persons cannot be answered by a God of Spirit. Such an objective defeats the purpose of meditation. Scripture tells us that the natural man receiveth not the things of God. Who is the natural man but the human being, the prodigal son, still deep in material consciousness, praying that his materiality may be made a little better, a little richer, a little more, or a little less? We pray to be stouter or we pray to be thinner; we pray to have more money, seldom to have less, although that might be a very spiritual prayer. The point is that we pray for an improvement or an increase of that very materiality of which God has no knowledge, and such prayer is not answered. Very often our human desires, if fulfilled, would leave us unsatisfied, because as human beings we do not possess the wisdom ...
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A Message for the Ages: Chapter 4, The Parenthesis
- Chapter Four The Parenthesis Throughout the writings it is pointed out that our function is not to improve humanhood: it is not to find an ideal companion for a person, an ideal home, or to make his body physically well. The Infinite Way has nothing to do with changing human conditions. The function of God is not to mend broken bones, to go out and get more dollars or automobiles, or to annihilate our enemies. As a matter of fact, whatever the nature or function of God is, already is. Our function is to leave "this world" because we have discovered that there is a "My kingdom" and "My kingdom" is not of "this world."1 That immediately sets up a whole new world for an individual. How do we leave this world? How do we stop taking thought for this world? The question is not how, but that it must be done. How it is done is an individual experience. I can tell about my own way of arriving at whatever stage of that process I have reached, but I cannot be sure that that is the way that will lead others to it. Beyond all question of doubt, as long as we are taking thought for what we eat, what we drink, or wherewithal we are clothed, we are not following the message of the Infinite Way. Such an idea pulls the foundation out from many students. It leaves them with nothing on which to stand, and that is the intent. "He hangeth the earth on nothing."2 If we have a single thought in our mind, we are going to cling to that thought. Any concept of God, any concept of what we expect of God, any concept of the fruitage we are looking for stands in the way of God's demonstration, because that is not opening oneself to the way or the will of God. Discovering God's Will Ever since we were born, we have been thwarting the will of God, doing everything our parents, teachers, or society told us, everything that good manners told us to do. How often have we turned to God and asked, "God, don't You have something to say about how my life should be lived? After all, You authored my life. ...
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I Stand on Holy Ground: Chapter 2, From Practicing the Presence to the Prayer of Listening
- Chapter Two From Practicing the Presence to the Prayer of Listening Living the spiritual life begins with practicing the presence of God, which means living in such a way that from the moment we awaken in the morning until we go to sleep at night, we have some conscious realization and acknowledgment of God. For example, on waking up in the morning, before jumping out of bed, wait for a few minutes and contemplate: This is a new day, which I had nothing to do with creating, nor had any man or woman. Where did it come from? Where, but from God? Therefore, this day must be the work of God, and if it is the work of God, it must include in it the works of God, the presence of God, and the power of God. I can begin with the activities of this day without worry and without fear because I know that since God has brought about this day, He will not leave it to its own resources. He created it and He maintains and sustains it. So I can safely trust this day to the government of God and to His presence and power. Only after such a realization should we make our preparations for the day. At breakfast must come the realization that there could be no food on our table or on any table but for the grace of God. Only God can bring forth crops and fruits. We can plant the seeds, but we cannot make seeds and we cannot make them grow after they are planted. Some kind of a law must take hold of a seed in order to bring forth apples from apple seeds or peaches from peach seeds. Therefore it is by God's grace that the food we eat and drink is provided for us. Meeting the Responsibilities of the Day As we go forward during the day, there is not a person who is not faced with some responsibility greater than he is able to care for. No one of us goes through life without having problems that we cannot humanly solve, and it is in these periods that we again contemplate truth as we know it, remembering that "He performeth the thing that is appointed for me.1. . . The Lord will perfect that ...
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The Infinite Way: Wisdoms of the Infinite Way
- WISDOMS OF THE INFINITE WAY BEGIN YOUR spiritual life with the understanding that all conflicts must be settled within your consciousness. There is never a conflict with person or condition, but rather a false concept mentally entertained about person, thing, circumstance, or condition. Therefore, make the correction within yourself, rather than attempting to change anyone or anything in the without. Acknowledge God as the substance, law, cause, and activity of all that is, and immediately refrain from meddling physically or mentally in the without. Get back inside yourself, and there resolve all appearances. When living out from the center of Being, you are untouched by the thoughts, opinions, laws, and theories of the world. Nothing acts upon you because you do not react to the world of appearances. In the spiritual life, you place no labels on the world. You do not judge as to good or evil, sick or well, rich or poor. While appearances may show forth harmony or discord, by not judging, you merely know IS, and let that which truly IS. define Itself. To live spiritually is to know that all is; then do not name, label, define, or judge what is. Be content to know IS, and let what IS. reveal Its being, nature, and character to you. Prayer is the inner vision of harmony. This vision is attained by giving up the desire to change or improve anyone or anything. Never seek anything or any condition in prayer. Let harmony define and reveal itself. Let your prayer be letting the IS. appear. Prayer is an awareness of that which IS. by "seeing" it - not making it so. To pray is to become aware of the harmony without a mental effort on your part. Prayer is the absence of desire in the recognition of IS. Spiritual wisdom reveals the deep, clear, cool well of contentment within you through your recognition of IS. Be sure that your prayer is not an attempt to influence God. Be sure that your prayer is not a desire to improve God's universe. Be at peace: God IS. Rest in the deep, ...
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The Heart of Mysticism: June 1956, In God's Presence is Fullness of Life
- CHAPTER SIX: JUNE In God's Presence is Fullness of Life Part One IN speaking with the Samaritan woman, the Master said: "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him [it] shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." Later that same day, when the disciples urged him to eat, he answered: "I have meat to eat that ye know not of." On another occasion he said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Once we glimpse the profound and sublime truth contained in these mystical utterances, our attitude changes completely and life assumes an entirely different meaning, for then we understand that "Man shall not live by bread alone," but that the "Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" is the substance of all life. As we begin to perceive that that which is outwardly tangible and visible is but the product of that which is invisible, we no longer judge our supply by the size of the purse but by the degree of God-contact attained. In attempting to find the fullness of life without first having made the contact with the Father within, we find ourselves with dust and ashes. It is imperative, therefore, that we gain an awareness of the divine Presence before the fullness can appear in our experience. Whatever good is to appear in our lives must appear as the result of the activity of truth in our own individual consciousness. If we maintain the same consciousness today as yesterday, we can expect no different fruitage; and in order that our experience tomorrow have a new and different and greater unfoldment, there must be a new activity in consciousness today. In other words, if we are to reap any spiritual fruitage from the study of truth, we must rid ourselves of whatever dead branches we are clinging to. Through a specific activity of consciousness, we must purge ourselves of any false beliefs we have entertained about God or Truth. As a ...
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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter IV, The Journey Within
- CHAPTER IV THE JOURNEY WITHIN The person who is one with God is merely the transparency through which God is living Its life: he does not have a life of his own, a mind of his own, or even a body of his own. His body is the temple of God, and his mind is the instrument of God, the mind which was also in Christ Jesus. That mind can be attained only in silence, not with words or with thoughts, although words and thoughts may be used as a preliminary step in what we know as meditation, which plays a vitally important part in the development of our spiritual life. Without the practice of meditation, a spiritual teaching, whether pursued under the guidance of a personal teacher or through the study of books, descends to a purely mental exercise. Spiritual unfoldment cannot come that way. It is meditation that makes a teaching come alive, because meditation is the connecting link between our outer life and our inner Self, which is God. It is true that in the first stage of our spiritual life the only way we can fill our consciousness with truth is through the mind. That is why in The Infinite Way we do not seek to stop the operation of the mind; we never tell anyone to stop thinking, to make any effort to stop thought, or to try to destroy the thinking mind because the mind is the gateway through which truth finds entrance to our consciousness. The mind is the instrument through which we can become aware of the spiritual wisdom of the ages-Scripture and spiritual literature and teachings. It is through the mind that we discipline the body and that we seek to discipline our thoughts; it is the mind that keeps itself stayed on God; it is with the mind that we think spiritual thoughts; it is with the mind that we ponder the deep things of the Spirit. This pondering, these thoughts and words, we call contemplative meditation. The words may be spoken or they may be thought, but they are only a step leading to meditation itself. Since it is almost impossible for most of us to ...
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The Government of Eden: Chapter 10, When We Pray Amiss
- ... If the masses could know something about the world of the Spirit, some of them at least would begin to open their eyes and desire what we who have learned about a life of prayer have discovered. Prayer, to be answered prayer, must come from a heart that is purged of personal and selfish motives, a heart that has for its desire that all men may know God's grace. This prayer, silently spoken or thought, not only sets the one who prays free, but it sets mankind free. We can watch it in operation at the level of the family. We can use this silent, secret prayer in our household, confining ourselves to our immediate circle, and pray that God's grace be established. We embrace everyone in our consciousness until we have made peace with them and have attained an absolute conviction that we desire the grace of God to be their experience. When we begin to see the fruitage in that small circle, then we are ready to lift our vision and go out into the community, to the seat of our government, to cross borders and look each nation in the face, each religion, and make peace. Go thy way in peace. May God's grace be visited upon you. May you forever know the joy of living in His forgiveness and His love, peace, and prosperity. Prayer for God 's Government on Earth World prayer work is the most difficult of all because we must, first of all, surrender all concepts as to the solution we are seeking, never praying for a certain event or experience. And the reason this is difficult is that each one of us has decided whether it would be good to have a Republican administration or a Democratic administration and, in some cases, even a Socialistic or Communistic administration. And when we pray, we are praying for this, and there can be no success in such world work. Success comes only with the surrender of material or human desires, and the desire for God's government on earth: spiritual government, not just a different form of human government. God is Spirit, and the only prayer of a ...
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Invisible Supply: Chapter 3, The Principle of Contemplative Meditation
- CHAPTER 3 THE PRINCIPLE OF CONTEMPLATIVE MEDITATION Most religious teachings tell us that the Spirit of the Lord is everywhere. If that were true, everybody would be free, healthy, wealthy, independent, joyous, and harmonious, and there would be no slavery, bondage, lack, or limitation. But that is not the condition of the world, so that teaching cannot be true. It is like saying that electricity is everywhere. However, until it is connected to your particular use, it does you no good. So it is with the Spirit of the Lord. In an absolute spiritual sense, the Spirit of the Lord is everywhere; but if you do not realize God, if you do not make contact with God, if you do not feel the actual presence of God, then as far as you are concerned, it is not there. The Infinite Way principle is that the Spirit of the Lord is only where it is realized. God-Realization The whole secret lies in the word consciousness. If you are conscious of the presence of the Lord, if you are conscious of the activity of God, then it is so unto you. To develop this consciousness we meditate or reach out to practitioners for help. Until we ourselves have realized the Spirit of the Lord, we turn to a practitioner who has the capacity (either inborn or developed) to realize God. If you can contact the consciousness of a Jesus Christ or of a John or of a Paul, your troubles are over and harmony is instantly restored to you because you have touched the consciousness of one who has attained God-realization. It makes no difference whether the practitioner is an Infinite Way student, a Christian Science student, or a Unity student as long as the practitioner is of a realized God- consciousness. On the other hand, if the practitioner is not of realized God- consciousness, regardless of what teaching he or she follows, you will get no benefit except possibly a little human comfort. You will have no demonstration of health, harmony, wholeness, completeness, or perfection. The Infinite Way practitioner has ...
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Seek Ye First: Chapter 5, Illumination through Meditation
- ... You will live in that realization, letting all these other things be added, because the illumined mind really is the substance of fulfillment at every level of our existence, even on the most practical level. That mind was practical enough to multiply loaves and fishes for the Master; that mind was practical enough to bring forth manna for Moses, and water, and open out a way through the wilderness for him. That mind was so practical for Elijah that he was fed, even in the wilderness, sometimes by birds bringing food to him. That mind that was in Christ Jesus is the most practical mind there is in all the world. There were miracles of healing, of forgiveness of sin, of supply, of freedom, of peace that came to everyone who touched not only the Master, but many of his disciples and some of the apostles. The most practical way of life that has ever been known is found in attaining that mind. Resist the Temptation To Change the Human Picture The way of attainment is through meditation. ... He left it with God to destroy whatever was not right, but in doing so neither the woman nor the man was destroyed. The only thing that was destroyed was the sin, and it was not a thing. When you take yourself to God, God eliminates everything that is not right, and yet God does not destroy anything, because there is nothing about us that is not right that exists as a thing or as a person. When the Master seemingly destroyed the fig tree, he was illustrating a principle of the spiritual life. When a person who is indulging human evil seeks forgiveness, repentance, or a turning from the evil, the spirit of God cleanses, purifies, and removes from him not only the evil, but the possibilities of evil and the punishment of evil, so though his sins were scarlet, they are white as snow. 19 When the Christ touches an individual who wishes to continue in the evil, however, that individual can be destroyed-but not by God. He destroys himself by holding himself up against that presence and power ...
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The Heart of Mysticism: September 1958, Praying Aright
- ... The inner communion helps to purify us, but a little conscious effort toward controlling our grosser feelings also helps us to reach that deeper communion. Inner communion results in an outer activity of harmony and peace, but no one can live in that inner communion if he is violating such spiritual laws as those that have been revealed by Christ Jesus. No one can expect to live an inner life of communion with signs following if, at the same time, he is hating his fellow-man, entertaining prejudice or bigotry, indulging in miserliness, or withholding forgiveness, understanding, or cooperation. Inner communion under such circumstances is an impossibility. Establishing a Conscious Awareness of the Presence In the early morning hours, before the day's activities have begun, we must be sure that we have established ourselves in God's grace and that we are in the rhythm of God-consciousness. ... Then we can go about our day's work: We have prayed-we have prayed ourselves into the very kingdom of heaven; we have prayed ourselves into God's grace. It may be necessary at noon or in the afternoon or evening when the distresses of the day crowd in to re-establish this contact. Again we turn within. This time something of a quite different nature may come: "What have I against any man, and what has any man against me?" Immediately we begin inwardly to make peace: * God is love. God is forever loving; God's love is flowing through me to all this world. God's forgiveness touches everyone-the man born blind, the thief on the cross, the woman taken in adultery, the leper. God's grace is a state of forgiveness for everybody, and God's love and God's forgiveness flow through me to all the world. In this meditation, we have made peace with our brother, and now our prayer is fruitful. Again, that is only the first half of the prayer: The second half is sitting in the silence, receptive, responsive, waiting until the flow begins. Suddenly we are lifted up and we know that we are in ...
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