Do you know what it means to have in your hand a piece of Scripture or spiritual writing, something from the masters—and actually to feel that you are in the presence of those who wrote those words; to feel that you are in the same consciousness as when those words were being brought into expression? There is nothing quite like this in all of the world, as to be able to get into a wonderful piece of poetry, more especially of a spiritual nature, or a prose writing, and to feel that you are sitting in the presence of those who brought forth such spiritual gems. It brings you into the atmosphere of the holiness that they were in when those gems came through.
There are degrees of spiritual consciousness, at least degrees of our awareness of it. A consciousness itself is always at the standpoint of absolute perfect being. But we aren’t always in that state of absolute awareness, and therefore, every mystic has had periods when he was completely in the Spirit, and received, through the impartations of the Spirit, that comprise a great deal of the Scriptures of the world, whether it is the Hebrew law, Christian testament, or whether it is one of the Scriptures of the other peoples of the world. Every single mystic, every single religious founder, has had moments of being completely in the Spirit, and receiving in those moments, the highest and most spiritual of impartations. The Master must have been in just such an atmosphere, when he gave the world the Sermon on the Mount.
Then when we are abiding in those impartations of truth, we are actually living in the consciousness of those who brought them through. And we can feel it; not merely by picking up a book in the midst of our busy day and reading something they said, but in those hours when we’ve gone apart from the world and become separate from the body and present with the Lord, then we are able actually to feel ourselves in the very presence of God, as they did when they were receiving these impartations.
Now, the object then of a Sabbath, is really to lay aside this world. That which Jesus said he had overcome, finally. We are to overcome it, even if we can only overcome it for fifteen minutes or an hour, and leave every care and every concern aside to live and move and have our being in some piece of spiritual wisdom. And then turn within to the Father within, and have at least five or ten or fifteen minutes of a life separate and apart from this world.
You will find then, as you come back to your duties and obligations in this world, that you have brought the atmosphere of God with you, and this atmosphere and presence of God will certainly be a yoke that will enable you to carry any burden you have to carry, and without overburdening you, without getting you down, without overcoming you.
Then our periods of meditations are really Sabbaths. And even those periods during the day, when we only take three minutes or four or five minutes, to shut out the world, to be absent from the body of this world and to be present with the Lord—even they become moments of Sabbath. They become sabbatical moments, sabbatical minutes, a sabbatical hour; and in this period, we take on our spiritual renewal and regeneration.
The ultimate object of spiritual living, of going into a spiritual way of life is overcoming this world. That is the goal: I have overcome the world. Evidently he meant that now I have arrived; I have overcome the world; I have no more problems; I have no more concerns. I have no more worries, doubts, or fears. I have overcome the world; I am free. And therefore, we speak in our literature of attaining freedom. As a matter of fact, the entire work this week has been on the subject of attaining freedom. You’ll find that all through the talks: attaining freedom; how to attain freedom, and what is necessary in order for us to attain freedom. And the question must now come up, “Freedom from what?”
Well, be assured that it doesn’t mean freedom from work; it doesn’t mean freedom from our families; it doesn’t mean freedom from our national duties and obligations; it doesn’t mean freedom from our international duties and obligations. It means a freedom from anything and everything, which would interfere with our harmonious family life, business life, national life, and international life. It means a freedom from every form of bondage that would keep us from fulfilling our duties as brothers and sisters to each other throughout this globe. It doesn’t mean freedom to retire to a convent or a monastery, and just sit there reading books, and nothing could become more boring than that in time.
I have been told by many who have been part of that living—many, many—that institutional living is the most difficult there is on earth. And once you witness it, you can readily see why. You sit there and you read great spiritual truths, and you become filled with the Spirit, and then you’ve got nothing to do except start all over again, or take a nap. You have no way of applying it; you have no way of living it; you have no way of sharing it with this world. You get all filled up with the Spirit, like being all dressed up Sunday and having no place to go.
But in this, our way of living, we become imbued with the Spirit. Whether we give our hour a day or fifteen minutes at a time, or whether we take a full sabbatical day, or occasionally a full sabbatical weekend, and then we are so filled with the Spirit, that like spring, it’s busting out all over. And then we come down from the mountain as Jesus did, into the valley, and we heal the sick, and we comfort the comfortless, and we help feed the hungry, and we help to bear the burdens of this world. And we sit in on conferences with schools or with business, and we help them with their problems or government. We mingle with the people of the world, and we are enabled to lighten their burden. We’re able to share with them some of the Spirit that was given to us in our sabbatical period—and how much they need it. And how much they need it! And why? Only one reason; they aren’t taking in that spiritual refreshment; they aren’t taking the sabbatical period to take unto themselves the gift of God and the grace of God which would enable them to go and do likewise.
The day will come when there will be no need of ministers or priests because every man will be a minister and a priest unto himself. Because all a minister is or a priest is, is an intermediary; one who can go to God on the behalf of others. But the day will come when there will be no others—when every individual will have free access to God, free access to the Spirit and the presence of God. When every individual will be able to walk into that holy sanctuary, the Shekinah, and there, tabernacle with God, and they will do it in the way that we are doing it: through meditation, contemplation, Sabbath.
To enable us to achieve this, there must necessarily be ways and means of accomplishing it. In other words, it isn’t really the easiest thing in the world to meditate, and it’s not the easiest thing in the world to meditate successfully. That is, so as to bring in a spiritual renewal. And in the Western world, we have barred ourselves—we have set up a barrier to the accomplishment of receiving God’s grace. We have rendered prayer ineffective, and we have rendered meditation ineffective, and all through just one way. When we have prayed or meditated, it has usually been about something to do with this world. And you see, neither prayer nor meditation can be successful when you’re taking into it the world that you’re trying to overcome. In other words, you’re defeating your own purpose when you go to pray, and then pray for something in this world.
Whether you are praying for food, or whether you are praying for safety, or whether you’re praying for security, or whether you are praying for anything in this world, the mere act of praying for something is the guarantee of the defeat of your prayer. To meditate for something or about something that has to do with your human world is to ensure the defeat of your meditation.