Now, let us begin with this: there is, of course the Presence of God with all of us: Immanuel is the truth about all of us; God with us. God is with us, but as you know, this is of no avail to us. We can sin, in spite of the fact that God is with us. We can have accidents, we can become sick. We can age, we can die: we can be very poor, in spite of the fact that God is with us and as a matter of fact, whole nations are in poverty and yet God is with them. All of the wars through which we have gone and the rest of the world, is due not to any absence of God, for God is with us; saint and sinner, God is with us but the reason for the world’s discords is the lack of conscious awareness of the Presence of God.
There is no sin, disease, accident or death in the experience of those who live and move and have their being in the actual consciousness of God. Therefore, there never will be peace on earth until the Kingdom of God has been consciously realized. Now remember, the Kingdom of God is already established. It is already present within you and within me and with all of the dictators of the world too. But until the Kingdom of God; the actual experience of God is realized, we may just as well be without God as the way we are. Then we start off with the basic realization that the Kingdom of God is within me, God is Omnipresence where I am, the place whereon I stand is holy ground, if I mount up to Heaven, God is there with me.
If for any reason I make my bed in hell, God is there with me. If I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I need not fear, for the presence of God is with me also. With that as a basic premise, we have to bring the presence of God into conscious, tangible expression. And that we do by this practice. In other words, by starting from the moment we awaken in the morning, with the realization that this is God´s day, and that we surrender our life to God today, and that we will make no move without the realization of God´s presence. That as we go to the breakfast table and acknowledge, “There but for the Grace of God,” there could be no food, but as for the grace of God there would grow no crops.
It is the grace of God that places cattle on a thousand hills. It is the grace of God that makes it possible for us to enjoy this meal. As we leave home, again the conscious realization: the presence of God goes before me, the presence of God goes to make the crooked places straight; to prepare mansions for me, to be the cement of all of my human relationships. Throughout the day, throughout the night, we find opportunity for remembering that “except the Lord built the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Without God’s grace, today will not be spiritual and perfect and harmonious.
Now, I have enlarged upon this in the entire book Practicing the Presence, so that those who will devote three, four, five or six months; in some cases seven, eight or nine months, to this actual, conscious Presence, practice of the Presence, throughout the day and the evening, and even on the awakening in the middle of the night, they will soon find a change takes place in their lives. In other words, occasionally there will come moments of inner quiet, moments of inner peace, moments of inner relaxing and above all, there gradually grows a confidence and assurance that since God is with me, all will go well or since “He perfecteth that which concerneth me, He performeth that which is given me to do,” I have more confidence with any undertaking that I may have had.
Whether it is healing work or whether it is selling merchandise or designing bridges, it makes no difference, as long as I am developing this assurance that there is something greater than I, within me, watching over with me; inspiring me, feeding me, clothing me, housing me. Then, this inner Self, which has been like a boiler factory; this inner Self, which has been full of doubts as to success and harmony: this begins to settle into an inner peace and gradually there comes to me the assurance that this that is within me is greater than any problem in the world.
Now, when this inner quieting begins, when these moments of inner peace or assurance come, one is then ready for meditation. Because, now to settle down to a period of meditation, the mind doesn´t race around; the boiler factory in the head doesn’t operate. And it becomes more simple to contemplate. The first stage of meditation is the contemplative meditation. It is one in which you close your eyes, get comfortable and there begin to contemplate God; the nature of God, the activity of God. And when you do this, you will very quickly discover that you have never known God nor have you ever known the nature of God.
You will find that God is a stranger to you; that you have only entertained concepts of God and mostly erroneous concepts of God. Because, as you enter the contemplative stage of meditation one of the first things you will learn is that “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” And so you will learn that not even your sin has separated you from God. You will learn that you are not under punishment for any sin. You will learn that God is not a God of punishment. You will learn that God is not a God of reward. You will learn that God does not do something for one that God does not do for another. You will learn that the only reason for your discords is your sense of separation from God, your lack of God awareness.
And so you will learn why it is said that “a thousand may fall at your left hand, and ten thousand at your right.” Not because God is letting them fall, not because God is bringing any evil to their doorway, but because this sense of separation from God, this lack of God awareness, has taken from them God government. You will learn in this contemplative meditation, why the Master said “abide in the word and let the word abide in you.” Abide in me and let me abide in you, you will bear fruit richly. If you do not abide in me or let me abide in you, you will be as a branch of a tree that is cut off and withereth.
And then you will find out why you have that discord. It is a very strange thing to read some of the religious literature of the world and find that it is claimed we do not know where error comes from. Or why sin, disease and death come to some people. We do not know why the evils exist in the world. And there isn´t a word of truth in all that. We do know, because we have learned it in both the Old and New Testament; from those who are wise enough to tell us. The reason is, we do not abide in God and do not let God abide in us, consciously!
We do not acknowledge him in all our ways. We do not keep our mind stayed on God. That’s the reason for our discords. We are living our own lives, instead of letting Christ live our life. That is, letting the presence of God live our lives for us and it cannot do this unless we consciously admit God into our consciousness and keep God there. You must abide in me; God, and you must let me; God, abide in you. Then you will bear fruit richly. You must dwell in the Secret Place of the most High. And none of these evils of this world will come nigh thy dwelling place. It is as clear as it can be, it has been written and declared as clearly as it can be stated that our discords have to do only with the fact that we do not live and move and have our being consciously in God.