1954 Chicago Closed Class
62B : Spiritual Unfoldment
Good evening! (Response)
These meditations that we have before the meeting, before the class, is actually more important than the class itself. If we had to dispose with one or the other, we’d all benefit more by disposing with the class, and having the meditation. And it’s for this reason – the words that are spoken are of no import at all, unless they are received in a spiritual consciousness. Just being accepted in the mind, they’re just like words out of a book.
Now, I don’t have to tell you that for four hundred years people have been reading the Bible, and yet in the last fifty years more people have been healed reading the Bible than in all the four hundred years before put together. And the reason is that as long as people read the Bible with their minds, they will derive nothing of a spiritual nature from it. It is true they will learn the history of the Bible and the history of some ancient people, and some very good precepts to live by – if they find some way of living by them. But the ability to live by them, the spiritual impulse, comes only from spiritualized consciousness.
And so it is, that meditation forms by far the biggest part of our work. Even when reading the writings, I feel that their major value is when there has been a meditation preceding it, so as to prepare the thought for spiritual seed. The Master refers to that when he speaks of the three types of soil, the rocky soil, the barren soil and the fertile soil. Now of course, as far as we are concerned, the human mind regardless of how intelligent it is, is the barren soil and the rocky soil. Spiritual soil is enabled to receive the seed of the Word and there permit that process of development, birth, unfoldment to take place that comes forth as spiritual fruitage.
Now, as human beings none of us have fertile soil for spiritual truth. No human being on the face of the globe has ever been fertile soil; it takes spiritual development. Some few people come over into this world from wherever it is that they come from, developed spiritually so that they are more receptive to the spiritual things of the world than others. But by far, the greater part of us, the ninety and nine of us, we come over here either brighter or duller humans, smart or less smart, cunning or less cunning, clever or less clever, but with very little of spiritual development. And then some influence usually comes into our lives. Once in a while it comes to us from the inner plane. More often it’s the influence of a father or mother at home or a Sunday school teacher, or a minister, or some spiritually enlightened soul that awakens something in us. And from there on our spiritual development begins.
Now, you may note a great tragedy, those of you who have read Dr Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness and have noted how very many people have had one cosmic experience in their life or one spiritual experience, and then never another. You know I wonder that they don’t commit suicide! It must be a horribly frustrating experience to have tasted the spirit once, and then never been able to recapture it. And of course they don’t know why, but we do, we do. Some unusual circumstance enveloped them, touched them to the issues of the spirit. And because they were not ready, because they were not prepared, because they did not have their lamps burning, because there was no spiritual consciousness, it just never happened again.
In other words, the seed hit them but it never took root, it never did spring up. Dr Bucke himself had a very close call. He was a direct student of Walt Whitman, and he had direct contact with Walt Whitman. And it was that contact that prepared his consciousness so that even though he was three thousand miles away when it happened, the light really struck him, and he caught the cosmic vision. And of course after that, had many, many others. But his consciousness had been prepared for it by his contact with one of spiritual vision.
There are only two ways of spiritual vision coming to us. One is the very rare instance of an individual who is spiritually developed within, and one such was Walt Whitman. He was one of the very rare ones in America, who did not owe his illumination to a teacher or a teaching, but to an inner light that found its way through him. But there are a dozen men and women in the world who received illumination from and through Walt Whitman.
Now in the same way, there are not many Jesus Christs in the world. But one Jesus Christ can illumine twelve disciples and seventy apostles and two hundred more besides, and of course there are no records of how many more received greater or lesser light from that Master mind, that Master soul, that Master consciousness. But one thing is certain, those who had contact with him, those who maintained their contact with him, those who lived somewhere in an atmosphere of his consciousness, they became the illumined ones – and the others not.
And so it has been all through the world’s history that there have been some, inspired from within their own being. Lao Tse was one. Buddha was one. Jesus was one. John was one. I mean the later John, John of the Gospel. And Shankara was one. Boehme of Germany was one. Eckhart of Switzerland was one. But then for these ones, there were the dozens, the many dozens who received illumination from them. For instance Boehme of Germany is responsible for more than two hundred years of spiritual and mystical development in Europe, all the way from Switzerland across to England. He was the inspiration for William Law, the great English mystic who received his illumination from a man who had lived long before him. Just as Saul of Tarsus received it from a man who had lived long before him, by virtue of having made contact with that consciousness.
And you might ask how could a man like Saul of Tarsus receive such illumination since he was a persecutor of the Christians? Don’t fool yourself, that’s a wonderful preparation, a wonderful preparation for it. I know a Christian Science teacher today, I expect him any time to become a follower of The Infinite Way. He has been persecuting and lambasting it ever since it began and I can’t help thinking of him as Saul of Tarsus. One of these days the light will strike and he’ll say, “My heavens, what have I done?” They make wonderful soil. Do you know why? They’re honest, they have integrity, they have zeal. They know what it is they’re standing for, and whether or not they do it to our way of thinking, they do it.
Now, Saul of Tarsus wanted God. He wanted God so much that he gave up his free Roman citizenship to take his place as an equal with Hebrew slaves. He gave up his freedom, his citizenship to be of the Hebrew slaves in the Holy Lands, in order to be taught by the greatest Hebrew teacher of his day. You know, greater love hath no man for God than to be willing to give up his freedom for God. Even if it isn’t God, even if its only a concept of God. There’s devotion, there’s earnestness, there’s zeal. And so he studied with Gamaliel. He may have studied with other rabbi’s. And he developed a great knowledge of Hebrew law, Hebrew rites, ceremonies and worship, history, a deep love for what he considered God and for the Hebrew concept of God. And it was because of his deep love – you see, love is the fulfilling of the law – it was because of that deep love, that search for God, that he was rewarded. And he was given the grace that revealed God to him.
Well, you can be assured of this that if any of us loved God enough to give up our freedom for it, to give up our human sense of life, to give up hours of daily toil, struggle, reading, meditation, you can be assured of it, we ultimately are going to find it. Now Saul of Tarsus found it, because in reaching out to God he touched the consciousness of the Son of God, the Christ of his own being, that mind which was also in Christ Jesus. And he received his illumination.
We do not know how we are to attain it. One thing is certain, that the zeal that brings us together in study groups like this is certainly a starting point. Of course, for most of us it isn’t too much of a sacrifice in being here. For some there may be, but if you ever understand meditation you’ll know what sacrifice is, because you’ll sacrifice your human comfort to achieve it. You will sacrifice human hours. You will need much patience, and you will have to give up many human activities in order to come to the depth of meditation.
Remember, what we call mental work or treatment or prayer, isn’t really the depth of meditation; it isn’t even skimming the surface. Meditation only begins when you have found the center of your own being and can settle down into an inner state of peace. Now it takes a long time to reach that point. And then from there on to live in that inner peace until the descent of the Holy Ghost, you’ll really know what Saul of Tarsus went through in order to become Saint Paul.