A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter XII, The Discovery of the Self
- ... If we are to find that Kingdom, therefore, we shall have to seek inside to find it, for that is where it is; and if we wish to show our love for God, we shall have to express love to one another because that is where we will find the God to love. If we want to serve God, we had better learn to serve one another, because only in that way can we serve the Father that sent you and me into expression. Every bit of love that we express is a love that is expressed to us. When we are expressing love impersonally to the downtrodden and abandoned people of the world, we are really expressing love to ourselves because the Self of those others is the Self of us. This is the Way: there is but one Self. I am that Self; and I am that Self even if I am appearing as you. I am that Self, even when I am appearing as the beggar or the thief. Is it not easy, then, to forgive, knowing that I am forgiving myself, that I am forgiving my own ignorance, forgiving my ignorance even when it appears as someone else? "Love is the fulfilling of the law." Therefore, love is the Way, and this means the love that I express, for I am the Way. I must express love, forgiveness, and patience; I must pray that the light of the world be revealed even in the darkest consciousness. I must do unto others as I would have others do unto me, because the I of me is the I of the other: we are one. The Self of me is the Self of you, because there is only one Self, and this is God's Self. This is oneness; this is divine sonship. The spiritual way of life is a recognition of oneness, sonship. The Way brings the recognition that the I of me and the I of you are one and the same I. The I AM that I am is the I AM that you are, because this is the I AM that God is, and God is the I AM which is the I AM of you and the I AM of me. Therefore, the recognition of I AM-ness is the Way. It is some measure of this realization that enables us to live as if I am you and you are the I that I am, and therefore we are one; and ...
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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter VIII, The Mystical I
- CHAPTER VIII THE MYSTICAL I The search for God must be conducted within, but this does not mean within our body because no amount of mental or physical probing has ever revealed the kingdom of God in any person's body. Therefore, we can quickly put aside any idea of searching for it in the spinal cord, stomach, heart, or even in the brain. The Kingdom is to be found within-within us. This leads us to the questions: Who are we? What are we? Where are we? Most of us already know that we are not confined to our body, and once we know that, we have taken a tremendous leap forward on the spiritual path, because if we are convinced that we are not in the body, it should not take very long or involve overmuch reasoning to establish the truth that being out of the body and invisible, we must be incorporeal and spiritual, something other than body. So, when we seek the kingdom of God within, we are not seeking for it inside the body, not even in the mind: we are seeking within ourselves. To understand the nature of life as consciousness reveals how it is possible for the kingdom of God to be within us, within our consciousness, within that part of us which knows, but within no particular part of our body. Consciousness alone constitutes the Self. When we have realized ourselves as consciousness and can look at our body in a mirror and thank God that we are not there, thank God that we have a body, but that we are not in the body-we are invisible-we shall begin to understand the Master's great teachings which are the "open sesame" to progress on the spiritual path. "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." How can the son of that Father be other than spiritual being, spiritual entity and identity, incorporeal and invisible being? How can that son of God be seen walking the earth? The truth is that our real Self is never seen by anybody: it is completely invisible. True, our body is visible, but we are not. We are hid with the ...
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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter XIII, The Unillumined and the Illumined
- CHAPTER XIII THE UNILLUMINED AND THE ILLUMINED The parenthesis in which we live consists of the degree of mental or material limitation that we come under through the universal belief in two powers. Removing the parenthesis means unseeing the human picture and becoming consciously aware of our spiritual Selfhood. What we are really doing on the spiritual path is trying to wipe out that parenthesis by realizing that we are not living in any form of human limitation: time or space, calendars or climates. The more we attain a living realization of the spiritual nature of our being through meditation, the fainter the parenthesis becomes and the closer we are to becoming one with Infinity and Eternality. The moment we perceive that there is but one Life and that we are living that Life, the parenthesis is being removed, at least being so rubbed out that there are only faint traces of it left. For centuries to come, there may be remnants of that parenthesis in the lives of all of us, but it will not be such a hard and fast parenthesis that it imprisons us in mortality, that is, in a material concept of life. Every meditation that results in an inner response hastens the fading out of the parenthesis. Every experience of depth in meditation makes us less subject to the limitations of the parenthesis, less subject to the calendar, to climate, and to the changing economic conditions of the world. One of the evils of living inside the parenthesis is that we resist change. As long as our particular parenthesis is halfway comfortable, we want to live in it. It does not even have to be a healthy or wealthy parenthesis so long as there is enough for survival and the pain is not too severe. But while human nature resists change, spiritual unfoldment compels change, breaking up the old patterns continuously. In fact, spiritual progress demands that every form be broken, no matter how good it is. No matter how comfortable life may be, Spirit will not let us rest in some degree of ...
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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter I, The Two Worlds
- CHAPTER I THE TWO WORLDS There are two worlds. There is "this world," and there is "My kingdom." There is the world that we see, hear, taste, touch, and smell, the world that we live in, in our business and in our home with our family; and there is the world within, where we live when the Christ has been raised up in us, the world inside our consciousness where we are alone with God and where we tabernacle with the son of God in us. On one hand, there is the mortal man, and on the other, the spiritual son of God. Paul, who was spiritually and inwardly taught by the Master, described mortal man as the "creature," 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"; and explained that "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Until we learn about the man who has his being in Christ-the man we must become-we are that "natural man," that "creature," that mortal who must put off mortality, that man who must "die daily." Progress on the spiritual path will be much more rapid once it is understood that this human or mortal man, this "creature," the "natural man," is entirely cut off from God, is never under the law or protection of God, and is never governed or sustained by God. If he were, could there be murder, rape, arson, or war? Could there be death if man were God-governed? Could there be disease? Could an airplane go hurtling out of the sky to kill all the people in it? If man were God-governed, would not disease have diminished? But has it not rather increased? For every disease that has been brought under control, have not two new ones, more deadly than the old, made their appearance? Yet every day millions upon millions of prayers go up to God; and then when a solution to the problems of the ills of the flesh comes, does it come from God or from a bottle of medicine, an antibiotic, or a new surgical discovery? Do not ...
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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter XXV, Losing I-ness in I
- CHAPTER XXV LOSING "I"-NESS IN I There are very few persons in all the world who are really interested in living spiritually or in attaining the spiritual goal, and certainly there are even fewer who have any conception of what it means to "die daily" and be reborn of the Spirit. Many must inevitably fall by the wayside, but those few who understand that true greatness, true wisdom, and true success lie in the very opposite direction from that of glorifying the self or pushing forward the personality, and who remain and persist, will reach the highest degree of spiritual consciousness, spiritual awareness, and spiritual unfoldment. To submerge the personality and make it subservient to that which is greater than itself is well-nigh impossible for most persons and gives rise to inner conflicts which may deflect them from the path leading to the goal. Through meditation and the practice of the Presence, however, the mind is stilled, and an awareness of this Something greater than themselves is developed. Eventually, a state of complete quiescence in which there is no thinking or planning is reached, and the human will yields to the divine will. This surrender of the human will to the Divine can be more readily understood if we use the analogy of a cube of ice floating in a glass of water. The ice rests in the water, cradled in it: it has no power to move itself. Only the water can propel it from one place to another. The ice itself is inert, immobile, passive, its every motion dependent upon the movement of the water. Let us think of ourselves as the ice, and of Consciousness as the water, while we wait in silence and stillness for the movement of Consciousness. In other words, we must wait patiently for the will of God to make itself known; we must be as completely quiescent as the piece of ice. Such a state can be achieved only when all desire has been surrendered because desire nourishes the personal sense of "I"-ness. As long as there is a desire, there is a ...
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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter XIX, Attaining Divine Sonship
- CHAPTER XIX ATTAINING DIVINE SONSHIP When we have encompassed the First and Second Degrees, a new dimension of life, an entirely different area of consciousness, opens up to us. In that moment there is something within us that is no longer a quotation, an affirmation, or a recalling of truth: it is an experience. We have entered the Third Degree, where we no longer live by the standards of this world, where the values are different, and life is governed not so much by what the outer law is as by what our inner integrity is. It is at this point that we pass from law to Grace. As human beings we live under man-made laws which continue to operate as long as we remain in ignorance, and until we are awakened, we are held in slavery to all kinds of mental and physical laws. As we come to an awareness of a spiritual Presence within us, we gradually become immune to these laws because as we pass into the third stage, the Presence lives our life, and It cannot be influenced, nor can It be acted upon by physical or mental laws: It is immune to them for they are only theories, superstitions, and the universal belief in two powers. In proportion as the son of God is raised up in us, these laws do not operate, and not only are we not receptive or responsive to them, but we aid in nullifying them for others who may come to us. When an immunity is developed to material and mental laws, we live in an entirely different world because then we do not have to take the law into consideration, nor do we have to be concerned about things. Having found the kingdom of God and dwelling in it, something else is taking over the responsibility for our entire experience. The government is on His shoulder, on this divine Son which in the Third Degree is now raised up in us. In our humanhood It was dormant; It stood by and could do nothing. Regardless of what wrong was done to us, we had to resign ourselves to it unless our human wisdom or strength could provide an escape for us, and in most cases ...
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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter XXX, God Made This World for Men and Women
- CHAPTER XXX GOD MADE THIS WORLD FOR MEN AND WOMEN Man is a prisoner of his mind. He is locked up inside his mind just as a little chick is locked up inside the egg. If it could look around inside the shell, it would see only darkness; it might even feel a sense of hunger and find no food there, and certainly, above all things, no companionship. In this lone, tightly locked up shell, that little chick must wonder what it has to live for. There is nothing for it to be happy about, but on the other hand, there is also nothing to be unhappy about: it has never known the world so it does not know what it is missing. All it knows is what it is experiencing while locked up inside the shell, and yet it does not even know that it is locked up inside its shell. As far as the chick is concerned, it might stay on there forever, living in that darkness. It might even find enough food in the shell to keep it alive. It would not really be living: it would be existing, and of itself it could no nothing about it. There it is, and it looks as if there it is doomed to be. But fortunately for these little chicks, there is something beyond themselves, there is something that causes a chick to peck at the shell, and to keep pecking and pecking at it until it breaks a hole in it and sees some light. Imagine what goes on in a little chick's mind when it begins to catch a ray of light from outside, and realizes that there is something out there that it has not seen, something it has not felt, some place it has not been. It keeps pecking away, and pecking away. It knows nothing about an outside world; it has no desire to get out; and probably left to itself, it would be satisfied with the comfort of the shell in which it is enfolded; but there is a something that eventually compels the chick to break open that shell and come outside, and find a great big world in which to go looking for food, and other chicks with which to play. In the first six hours that that chick is out of the shell, it ...
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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter X, Reality and Illusion
- CHAPTER X REALITY AND ILLUSION To recognize that we live in two worlds, the world created by the five physical senses and the world of Consciousness, is to bring ourselves closer and closer to illumination. In the first chapter of Genesis, God made man in His own image and likeness, without any help from anyone. This pure spiritual birth, this immaculate conception, is God manifesting and expressing Himself and His qualities, Consciousness revealing Itself as form. This is pure, unadulterated, spiritual creation, the immaculate conception of man and the universe, God, the infinite Life expressing Itself individually without any material forms, processes, or systems. In the second chapter of Genesis, God not only creates but He miscreates, and because of His mistakes, He has to do it over and over again. First, He "formed man of the dust of the ground," then, He brought woman forth from man's rib, and finally He decided to bring man and woman together for the purpose of creation. Is it reasonable to believe that the infinite Intelligence of this universe needed to make two attempts at creation? This man of earth, "the natural man" who is not under the law of God, "neither indeed can be," is not a man at all: he is a mythical creation of the human mind, of the five physical senses. To make clear how this mind creates, let us examine how it has created a man- made God. Close your eyes for a moment, and take the word God into your consciousness. Do you believe that this is God, or is this not a projection of your mind? Has this God any power? Is there really such a Presence, or is this just a self-created image of your own thinking? Let us go further afield and let us attempt to decide what God is. Instantly to our thought comes an answer, but the answer is not truth, and the answer is not God because the answer is a projection of our background. Anyone who has been an orthodox Christian almost immediately thinks of Jesus Christ. If one's background is Hebrew, he ...
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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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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Chapter XX, The Meaning of Initiation
- CHAPTER XX THE MEANING OF INITIATION Initiation is an act of Grace bestowed on individuals at a certain time in their unfoldment, lifting them into the master-state of consciousness. There is far less opportunity for a student to attain initiation in the Western World than in the Eastern because in the West we are brought up from childhood with the idea of equality. We are taught that we are all equal, and therefore we do not have the correct understanding of the role of a spiritual teacher, or what spiritual consciousness is. We do not realize that while we may have political and economic equality, we are far from being equal in spiritual development. We of the Western World do not lend ourselves to becoming students of a spiritual teaching. Oh yes, we are very eager in the first year or so to jump up from the status of a beginner into being at least a master, and then going on from there. Attaining the spiritual life, however, does not come so quickly: it is a life of continuous dedication to that which is greater than we are. Personally, I do not believe that a student can consciously prepare for initiation, nor have I ever seen anyone who had initiation as his goal achieve it. Rather the goal must always be the attainment of that mind that was in Christ Jesus without any thought of receiving initiation or experiencing the effects of initiation. As the student takes his first steps on the Path leading to illumination, he learns to meditate on the indwelling Spirit. Initiation carries him from one step to another into the awareness of the Presence, on and on and on, purifying him to the extent that he no longer wants God to destroy his enemies, but is willing always to forgive and love them because he knows that it is only through their ignorance that evil is being expressed. He is purified to such a degree that he no longer wishes to gain his ends by any personal sense of might or power. In way after way his life becomes so purified that it is lived in dedication ...
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