You cannot receive that word from a book. You will not receive that word from a teacher. The book and the teacher can only point the way back to your own inner self. That is the function of spiritual books. That is the function of scripture. You know there are many people who actually believe that the Bible has failed us, that we are not receiving the benefits that the Bible promises. Well I’ll agree with that second part that we are not receiving the benefits that the Bible promises us, but I will not concede that the Bible has failed, but rather we have failed to heed the Bible, because all the way through the Bible—Old Testament as well as New—we are told to be still. We are told to be quiet. We are told to listen. And as a rule we are listening to what we read in a book, or we are listening to what a teacher may say and it wasn’t that kind of listening that the Bible referred to. It refers to listening for the still small voice that is within each and every one of us.
And the miracle part of this teaching is that it makes no difference whether we are Jews or Gentiles, Protestants or Catholics, Orientals of one religion or another, or whether we are atheists or agnostics, that still small voice is within each and every one of us and it is there from the cradle to the grave awaiting our listening ear, our inner listening.
God is no respecter of persons. It makes no difference what our color, race, or creed may be, or nationality. That still small voice has been planted in the midst of each one of us. Now, before we open the Bible or any spiritual writing, we must have a period of quiet in which to open our inner listening ear. Then when we open the book or Bible or when we attend a lecture or class, whatever is read or said may spark that still small voice and you may then receive the word of God, the grace of God, the presence of God, the power of God, but only because you have made yourself receptive to it.
In other words, if you have come here and you have not prepared yourself for the word of God, if you have not created an area of stillness and quietness in your consciousness, even if the word of God comes through my lips you will not hear it. You will not receive it. Even if the word of God comes through the Bible or spiritual writings, and you have not prepared your consciousness with a period of inner stillness and quietness to receive it, it will pass right through your mind making no impression whatsoever. And then you will be able to say later, I read the Bible and got nothing from it. I went to a lecture; I attended a class; I received nothing from it.
But the answer is you will not receive it in your mind. The mind of man is not the instrument through which the word of God is received. If it were, everyone that reads words and everyone that hears words could receive it. But Scripture is very clear: It takes spiritual discernment to receive it. The natural man does not receive it; the mind of man does not receive it, but the Son of God in you receives it—that Spirit, that presence of God which is closer to you than breathing, It receives it for you. And therefore the thinking mind must be stilled so that the spiritual center may be receptive and responsive to the word of God that is already established within you. Therefore, for the balance of our work this month may I suggest that each and every one of you who attend, regardless of how many times you may attend or how few, but each time, prepare yourself first before you come to the hall or classroom by a period of silence, of inner listening, of inviting the Spirit of God to speak to you or through you.
Do not try to stop your human thoughts or you will fail. There are many forms of meditation based on trying to stop thinking but they all inevitably fail because there is no way for us to stop thinking, but there is a way in which thought automatically stops of its own accord, and that way is when you settle for your period of silence, first spend a few moments in contemplative meditation. That is contemplating some truth. It could be as simple as this: The Master revealed that the kingdom of God is not in holy mountains nor holy temples. It is neither lo here nor lo there, It is within me, and therefore, I am turning within now to hear the still small voice, to receive the presence of God, the grace of God and so speak Lord, thy servant heareth. And then be still for fifteen or twenty or thirty seconds, and then get up and do whatever follows until you come to our meeting.
When you are there, for as long a period before the work begins as is possible, certainly for fifteen minutes, stop conversation. Read anything that you may have with you of a spiritual nature. Read. We have so many tiny little pamphlets available or a book that you may bring with you. Read for a few moments and then be still. Meditate. And you might repeat the meditation I have just given, or you may remember this:
I stand at the door and knock. These must be familiar words to you. I stand at the door and knock. And do you know who is voicing this? The Christ, the Spirit of God, the presence of God Itself is voicing this. I stand at the door and knock, at the door of your consciousness, at your door, at the entrance to you.
Now supposing for a moment you seriously contemplate that remark, “I, the Christ, the Spirit of God, I the presence of God, I, the still small voice, stand at the door of your consciousness and knock. And then you will have to agree that it is you who must admit God into your consciousness. It is you who must admit the Spirit of God, must invite the Spirit of God, must seek that the Spirit of God enter you. You will begin to perceive very quickly why sin, disease, death, lack, and limitation exists on earth because you will begin to remember how seldom have you pondered the statement I stand at the door and knock, and invited the Christ to take over your life instead of your having to struggle with might and with power to overcome?
How seldom do you believe that the people of this world really settle into a period of silence and invite the Christ to take over their soul, mind, body and business and household and home and say I yield, I surrender this day to you. I surrender this night to you. I surrender my business to you. I surrender my career to you, the Christ, the presence of God. I surrender my family life, my home, my children to you; take over, that someday I may be able to repeat with Paul, I live yet not I; Christ liveth my life.
How do you expect Christ to live your life without inviting the Spirit of God, the presence of God within you? Of course Paul says Christ dwelleth in me. Why? He has invited the Spirit of God to enter him. He has spent years seeking and searching for the secret until he discovered that the Christ, the Spirit of God was before Abraham and will be with us unto the end of the world, but it never infringes upon us. It awaits our recognition and acknowledgement. Acknowledge Me in all thy ways is in the Old Testament. And in the New: Abide in the word; let Me abide in you. Ah, but you see, it’s all let, invite, seek, acknowledge; and you know that as humans we have not been doing that.
Only those taught in the spiritual way of life have known that God does not interfere in this human existence until we open out a way, until we invite the Spirit of God into our experience and by a constant surrendering of our souls, minds, and bodies, business, and homes, finally receive the Spirit of God within us, and then we learn that in Thy presence is fullness. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. But where is this Spirit of the Lord? Everywhere and nowhere—actually everywhere surrounding us: above us, beneath us and within us, but nowhere until we open the door of our consciousness and say, “Speak Lord thy servant heareth. Enter Lord. I open myself to the Spirit of God; I surrender myself to the Spirit of God,” and then go about our daily business acknowledging Him in all our ways.
Now then, the purpose of all of this is made clear after the Spirit of God has entered you. You remember the Master said, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, and I am ordained? Well if you engage in periods of meditation, and they need not be longer than three or four minutes, two minutes, five minutes, and on other occasions only one minute. But if you persist in this, the Spirit of God, which is knocking at the door of your consciousness, does enter. And when it does your miracle is about to begin, because almost immediately you will realize, and maybe even hear, I am come that you might have life and that you might have life more abundantly.