Spiritual Interpretation of Scripture: Scriptural Symbols
- SCRIPTURAL SYMBOLS SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE of Scripture is often revealed in the metaphysical interpretation of names of people, places, mountains, seas and rivers we find in the Bible. The historical sense of the Bible is often not correct and is rarely of much importance. The spiritual sense of Scripture is the important one, and it shows forth the laws and principles of harmonious existence. Spiritual ideas and moral lessons have been interpreted as men, events and movements, and these must now be re-interpreted in order to unravel the mystery of the Bible and make Scripture practical in destroying its superstitions and mysteries. People have considered their place of worship almost as important as the God they worshipped. The Holy Temple in Jerusalem was considered of such importance that Jews from all over the Holy Lands made pilgrimages there every year. The Temple, however, rightly understood, is a symbol of the spiritual universe or body and is attained not by means of a pilgrimage from one place to another, but by an expansion of consciousness, which then includes within itself the secret of immortality or life eternal achieved here and now. Jesus showed forth this truth about the Temple when he said, "Ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father . . . But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:" Again, he said, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." The material sense of Temple localizes and finitizes it; the spiritual sense reveals the infinite and immortal Temple of your life, your body, your experience of good. This true view of Temple likewise spiritualizes your understanding of worship. Thinking of church as material, as having edifices and rules, materializes and finitizes and localizes worship, whereas, the spiritual sense of church reveals the unlimited, unfettered prayer uttered within your own being. Following this line of thought, ...
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Spiritual Interpretation of Scripture: Stages of Consciousness
- STAGES OF CONSCIOUSNESS THERE ARE NOT three states of life - the material, the mental and the spiritual. The material and the mental are one, although they constitute two degrees of the same one. Remember, the material and the mental are one. In this stage thoughts are things; beliefs produce conditions. Ordinarily in metaphysical teaching, the mental and spiritual are considered one, and therefore, you may have heard or read the term, "mentally spiritual." Be careful of it because it is dangerous to your progress. There is no such thing as mentally spiritual because the mental and physical are two strata or stages of the one; the physical is the more gross; the mental is the higher form, but is still just a higher form of the material. The proof of this may be seen in such statements as "thoughts are things" and "as a man thinketh so is he," meaning, if he thinks good he will manifest good, and if he thinks evil he will manifest evil. Thinking which produces things and thinking which can produce either good or evil cannot be spiritual. Notice that nowhere does it say that thinking will produce spirituality. On the contrary, we are told by the greatest spiritual Light, "Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?" And from Isaiah, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts." In other words, human thinking is not spiritual. Until you realize that the physical and mental realm are one and that one the mortal and material, you will be looking for your good in the wrong place. "Not by might (physical) nor by power (mental) but by my spirit saith the Lord." You are not consciously in the spiritual realm or Kingdom of God, harmony, until you rise above things and thoughts. If you feel that this is difficult you can understand one reason why so few have attained it. Another reason is false teaching. Men have become satisfied when they reached the mental realm, thinking they were in heaven or state of harmony - only to find sooner or later that they were ...
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The Art of Meditation: Chapter V, The Difficulties
- CHAPTER V THE DIFFICULTIES If we practice the foregoing meditations faithfully, undoubtedly many questions will arise as to certain procedures in meditation: What about the extraneous thoughts that race through the mind? Should we expect to see visions? Is there a definite length of time for each meditation? How much understanding is necessary? Does diet have any bearing on the effectiveness of meditation? Is any particular posture necessary or desirable? Let us consider the question of posture first. Meditation is most easily practiced when we are not conscious of the body. It we sit in a straight chair, with feet placed squarely on the floor, the back straight as it normally should be, the chin in, and both hands resting in the lap, the body should not intrude itself into our thoughts. This normal and natural position we should be able to maintain for five, ten, or twenty minutes, without thought reverting to the body. There is nothing mysterious about posture. In the Orient, few people sit on chairs; therefore, it is natural for them to meditate sitting on the floor with their legs crossed. In that position, they are comfortable; but we, of the Occident, would find such posture not only difficult to achieve, but, for most of us, very uncomfortable to maintain. If it is remembered that in meditation our whole attention is to be focused on God and the things of God, it will be readily understood that in meditating it is wise for the body to be in a natural or comfortable position, so that the attention is not drawn to the body. The only reason for assuming any particular posture is to make it easier to center the attention on God and to become receptive to Its infinite power. In meditation, a change within the system is noticeable. The spine is erect; the chest is high; the breathing becomes slower, and thoughts race through the mind less and less until they finally cease. Meditation is a conscious experience. As suggested earlier, it is a great help to begin ...
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The Art of Meditation: Chapter XVI, The Fruit of the Spirit
- CHAPTER XVI THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT In the life of every seeker after God there comes a time when he feels the Presence and becomes aware, in one way or another, of an actual transcendental Presence and Power. Then he will have done with reading books about the God- experience or with hearing people talk about it. We do not know in what form that experience will come to us. To each one it comes in a different way, but this much is certain: When it comes, and the Spirit of the Lord is a realized Presence, "there is liberty"-a liberty and a freedom from the thoughts and things of this world, its fears, doubts, cares, and problems. The very moment that the Spirit of the Lord touches a person, he is transformed. He begins to understand the meaning of rebirth or of being "born again." He senses a difference within himself and he knows that he is not the same person he was yesterday or last week. The degree of the transformation may not at once be apparent in the visible realm, but, bit by bit, it becomes evident to the outer world. Sometimes in the very beginning it may become evident in negative appearances. Loss often precedes gain: "He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it." The present sense of life must be sacrificed that the spiritual sense of life may be gained. Before the full and complete realization of this new life has taken place, the breaking up of the old forms may appear as a problem of some sort, either economic, emotional, or physical. There is the sense of losing something, giving up or sacrificing something. Actually, this is not true. Once the Spirit of the Lord has really touched a person, he is not disturbed or affected by outer appearances, because he recognizes them as part of a transitional experience. The early Christian martyrs who turned from the pagan gods to the one God did not think in terms of a human sense of life. The persecution they were forced to endure was as nothing in ...
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The Contemplative Life: Chapter 12, The Spiritual Christmas
- ~ 12 ~ THE SPIRITUAL CHRISTMAS In the account of the advent of the Christ in the Gospel according to St. Luke, the Christ was born in a manger because "there was no room for them in the inn." 1 There was no room in the inn, and so the Christ was born in the stable of the inn. Esoterically, the meaning of this is that the human consciousness, which is the place of enjoyment, comfort, and revelry, never has room for the Christ. When there is a sufficiency of supply, health, and the comforts of home life, rarely is there room in that consciousness for the Christ, and because of this human complacency, usually it is only when sickness, sin, or poverty is experienced that consciousness is ready to receive the revelation of the Christ. More often than not, it is the sick, the sinning, and the poor who are the seekers. Probably in the beginning they seek relief only from their evil, discordant, or unhappy conditions, but sooner or later they awaken to the fact that there is a deeper meaning to the activity of the Christ than merely the healing of the sick or even the raising of the dead. It is then that consciousness is opened to receive the spiritual Impulse. Within the consciousness of every person in the world, and in the consciousness of all those who have been here and of all those who have not yet come to this plane of existence, there is this spiritual Spark, that which is called the Christ, a Spark which is kindled only as man seeks for It and learns to turn within to find It. Isaiah Reveals the Christ In trying to understand the Christ, it is necessary to know Its function and the meaning of the kind of a life that is lived when the Christ is realized. More than any other Hebrew prophet, Isaiah caught the vision of the Christ, and from beginning to end the Book of Isaiah is replete with wisdom concerning the Christ: Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very ...
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The Master Speaks: Chapter 15, Meditation and Healing
- ~ 15 ~ MEDITATION AND HEALING Meditation is the secret of this entire work. If you succeed in catching the vision of the Infinite Way, you will find that meditation will be responsible for at least ninety percent of that success. You will find that meditation is not only that which opens up consciousness, but meditation, ultimately, is the mode and means of bringing the Christ into manifestation. Many people are afraid of meditation because it has always been closely associated with the Orient. In the Occident, in our Western world, there is no such practice as meditation except among the Quakers. They have, of course, practiced meditation from the beginning of their organization. But aside from them and the various Oriental groups, meditation is practically unknown in the Western world. Yet meditation is your point of contact with Divinity. The kingdom of God is within you, and it is within you, yourself, that you must find God. For although you can be led back to the kingdom within by means of teachers and teachings or even books, these serve a purpose only as they lead you back to the depths of your own being, and it is there you must find God, through meditation. Organizations perform a valuable function in the world, but that function should be to provide a teacher or a book which would be of help in helping students find the kingdom of God within their own being. In addition to teachers and books, organizations can also provide a place where students can go for meditation and communion, while they are in the transitional stage; while they are seeking God, while they are seeking the kingdom. As I see it, there is no reason why some religious organizations should not exist forever. I do not see any reason in our age why they should be discontinued. But I do say that their purpose in the early stage of our search for God is to provide us with books, teachers, teachings, services, or whatever it is that we need that will help us find the kingdom of God. The ...
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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter III, The Spiritual Adventure
- CHAPTER III THE SPIRITUAL ADVENTURE From earliest times this world with all its magnificence, yet punctuated by untold tragedy, has been a mystery, with man himself the greatest enigma of all. Here a man, and there a man, has sought to penetrate this mystery, but for the most part men have gone about their business, doing all that needed to be done humanly- some with great integrity and some with less, some with great ability and some with less, but all having one thing in common: all that existed for them was what they could see, hear, taste, touch, or smell, or could reason and think about. They might have looked up at the sky occasionally-a passing glance, a passing thought-but it had no meaning for them except that the sun was up there in the daytime, often very uncomfortable, and the stars and the moon were there at night, very beautiful. These things had no significance: they were just something they saw or felt, things they were aware of, but of which they had no knowledge, and in which, at the moment, no interest. To these people it was as if there were no world other than the one in which they lived. They saw the horizon, and it was so real that, to them, it represented the edge of the world, and they did not dare to go out to investigate. Had they only known the global nature of the earth and the laws of navigation, they could have sailed all around the world and found continents, islands, and unlimited wealth, but because of their ignorance, they were confined within the limits of their immediate environment. Similarly, is not the world today filled with people, educated and uneducated, yet knowing nothing beyond what they see, hear, taste, touch, smell, or feel? The human race, as we know it, is composed of men and women living completely shut off from divine aid, divine sustenance, and divine providence. From the most ancient of times up to modern days, man has not only lived by the sweat of his brow, but has engaged in strife to gain his ends, whether ...
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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter XVIII, The Function of the Mind
- CHAPTER XVIII THE FUNCTION OF THE MIND After we have been in the First Degree long enough for its lessons to solidify in consciousness, we begin to realize that we ourselves are responsible for our character and for the harmonies or discords that are coming into our experience, and that it is within our power to prevent or remove the discords and inharmonies of life from being a part of our experience. When we were living only as human beings, it was largely a matter of chance or luck whether the right circumstances came or the wrong, the right person or the wrong. The one thing every human being is sure of is that he is not responsible for the ills that befall him and, if he is honest, he will have to admit that he is not too responsible for the good things that happen either: they just happen. When we realize that we ourselves have it within our power to determine our experience, that we could have prevented most of our troubles had we only known what we know now, and moreover that we can begin at any moment to change the entire course of our experience, we begin to take hold of our life and mold it in accord with our desires, not just accepting what someone thrusts upon us or what the world deals out to us. As we sow, so shall we reap. In the human experience it is we, ourselves, who are forming our own life, and we are doing it either by living a materialistic kind of life or by beginning to understand that we can live by the word of God if we will but take the word of God into our life. We reap what we sow. In the Second Degree a great principle is revealed: a mind imbued with truth is a law of harmony unto our life; a mind ignorant of truth results in a life of chance, luck, and circumstance, a life over which we have no control. We can control our life only in proportion to the truth we entertain in our consciousness. We ourselves can determine whether we want one hour out of twenty-four of harmony, or twenty-four out of twenty-four. We alone can determine ...
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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter XXIX, Beyond Time and Space
- CHAPTER XXIX BEYOND TIME AND SPACE As human beings we live in the past, the present, and the future. The past has been, and there is nothing more we can do about it; the future has not come, and there is nothing that a human being can do except wait to see what the future is going to do to him. On the spiritual path our whole attitude toward the past and the future is changed because we realize that we are building our future now. Whatever fills our consciousness this minute is the seed we are sowing, and it determines the type of fruitage we will have. If we are sowing to the flesh, we will reap a future of corruption; whereas, if we sow to the Spirit, we will reap in the future, life everlasting. In the absolute sense there is no future: the future is only a continuation of the present; it is an extension in time and space of the present; and it is safe to say that our future will be this present, whatever this present is, extended into time and space. Since life is consciousness, the seeds that we sow in our consciousness at any and every moment of the day will determine the nature of the crops that we will reap in that extension of the present which is called the future. There is no future separate and apart from this minute: the future is only this minute extending itself, and the nature of that future must be the nature of this minute extending itself. So, if we abide in the Word and let the Word abide in us now, we will reap richly, spiritually, divinely, and harmoniously. Man is continually sowing the seeds of his own future. Each minute of his life he is building tomorrow, and next year, and the year following, and even ensuring that there will be these years to come. We build our life in consciousness by the nature of that which occupies our thoughts. As we live this minute, this minute extends itself forward into time and space, carrying with it the quality with which we have imbued this minute. If constantly and consciously we are realizing that God is ...
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Consciousness Is What I Am: Chapter 3, Mind Is a Transparency
- ~ 3 ~ MIND IS A TRANSPARENCY One of the steps leading up to living by Grace rather than by taking thought is to keep the mind imbued with truth. In all the writings of The Infinite Way it has been made clear that we never outgrow the letter of truth, that is, the principles. We must always have them as a rock and a foundation. At first, we hold to the letter of truth intellectually. For example, we instruct the mind, as it were, to hold to God as one Power. Through imbuing the mind with truth, we are remolding our state of consciousness, and one day we will not consciously have to hold to one Power because it will be so much a part of us that we will not even have to deny any other power. The mind cannot choose to do this: we must choose, and we must hold to the principle of one Power. Every time the suggestion of another power is presented to us, we answer with, "No, I have accepted God as the only Power." As we abide in this principle, we are rebuilding our state of consciousness. We are "dying" 1 to the belief in two powers and are being reborn into the consciousness of one Power. Let us take another principle basic to The Infinite Way: one Self. God is infinite Selfhood; God is my Self; God is your Self; there is only one Self. The mind of itself cannot accept the principle of the one Self: it must be we who accept it and keep it in our mind. Every time somebody talks about an evil, dangerous, or insane selfhood, we come back with, "But there is only one Selfhood, and I am that Self." We hold to that truth against every appearance thrust upon us of a male or a female self, a poor or a rich self, a sick or a well self, and as we do, we "die" to the belief of many selves and are reborn into the consciousness of one Selfhood. INSTRUCTING THE MIND ON SUPPLY AND HEALTH The universal belief is that supply is outside in the world and that we must struggle to get it. But the truth is: I am supply. "I have meat to eat that ye know not of." 2 If our mind knew this, we ...
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