Now, we cannot all attain it equally. There is no such thing as equality among us. And the reason is that some of us want it so badly that we will sacrifice days and nights to get it. We will give up the opportunity of earning money. We will do anything and everything that appears as a possibility in order to attain this, and we will attain it. There are others who would surely love to attain it, and are perfectly willing to study an hour a day. They, too, will attain a grain. But even a grain in this generation is a tremendous experience.
Now the question arises, how does one attain it? And, this I can only give to you from personal experience. In other words, I am not laying down a rule which says that this is the only way. There may be dozens of ways, but this is the way that worked itself out in my experience, and which I have been passing on to our students for thirty years, or nearly that.
The first step toward receiving enlightenment lies in a practice that Brother Lawrence called, ‘practicing the presence of God’. Now, in my own experience, it worked out not quite the way Brother Lawrence worked his out; in quite a different way, and with different results, but the principle is the same.
On waking in the morning, instead of either lying there daydreaming, or jumping out of bed quickly to get ready for the day, remain there for about five minutes and begin immediately to reach out to that word ‘God’. Let that word ‘God’ come into your consciousness. And then see what unfolds from there. Something along this line of:
“God, God. God is where I am, or this is the day the Lord hath made. This must be a good day. God governs my day. The place whereon I stand is holy ground for God is here. God is to be the activity of this day. God is to be the all in all of my day. Ah yes, yes, it says, ‘Lean not unto thine own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all thy ways.’ Acknowledge Him. I acknowledge God as having given me my rest and sleep. I recognize God as bringing me to awakeness. I recognize God as having brought daylight after night. I recognize God as functioning in the incoming and outgoing of the tides. I recognize God. Even if the trees outside are barren right now in January, I know that God is doing something about it, for a few weeks, a few months, and there will be buds, and blossoms, and fruit. I know that God is at work in every phase of life, regardless of any appearances to the contrary.”
We are out and we make our physical preparations for the day, and we come to breakfast. And here we have to give pause because there is a temptation to believe that we have that breakfast because we had money to buy it. No. No. Money wouldn’t grow it. No. It took God functioning through nature. And so we can say, “God can set a table in the wilderness. And God does set my table regardless of the human activities of my day.”
We prepare to leave the house, whether for marketing or shopping, or whether for business; always we are to pause at the door before we go through it to realize that the Presence has gone before me – the Presence that prepares a place for me, the Presence that makes the crooked places straight. I, of my own self, cannot do very much in this day, except that the grace of God goes with me, and before me. We have duties to perform, tasks to perform, labors to perform, and how wonderful it is then to realize, “He performeth that which is given me to do. He perfecteth that which concerneth me. He that is within me is greater than any of these problems of the day.”
And so on throughout the day, and on into the night, some acknowledgement of God. And we are thereby fulfilling scripture, which says thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee. And also: acknowledge him in all thy ways, and he will give thee peace. And finally the Master, in the fifteenth chapter of John: if you abide in this word, if you let this word abide in you, you will bear fruit richly. If you do not abide in it, if you do not let it abide in you, you will be as a branch of a tree that is cut off and withereth.
So it is then, that we go through days and weeks of consciously bringing to remembrance the word “God,” and the importance of God, the need for God, the reliance on God, the function of God in our experience. And it only takes days, a week, two, three, until we find that an inner stillness has developed within us – an inner peace that we never knew before, an inner assurance that something greater than ourselves is on the field. Then, we come to our second step, which is meditation.
Now, until one has found an inner peace, an inner quiet, they will find meditation impossible. The human mind just won’t be still. But if, through the practice of that presence of God, an inner stillness is attained, then meditation is very simple. You sit down and ponder some idea of God, whatever comes into your mind, for a few minutes, and then quiet and you are in meditation, receptive and responsive to whatever may come in to you, from within you.
Remember, everything now is taking place within you. The kingdom of God is within you. This quiet is established within you. This peace is established within you and, finally, the impartations come to you from within you. And, when this begins to happen, you start your life of living by grace, rather than under the law. And, you will now find that the physical laws and mental laws, which functioned so strongly in your experience, begin now to lessen. And you are less subject to material and mental laws, and more and more receptive to the spiritual.
And so this goes on until, eventually, you discover this: that whereas before you were blind, now you see. Whereas before you had a darkened, material consciousness that loved, hated, or feared that which existed in the visible realm, now all of a sudden your consciousness is so enlightened that you can look out here and say:
“I shall not fear what mortal man can do to me. I will not ‘put my faith in princes.’ I will not lean on that which is external, on that which is visible, for now I have discovered that all that is visible is made of the substance which is invisible.”
And so, from now on, the reliance is on your own enlightened consciousness, your own developed spiritual consciousness. And then, you can understand why the Master could say, “I am the bread, and I am the wine. I am the meat. I am the water.” In other words, I embody my good within my own being. And instead of trying to get it from out there from people, instead of trying to get it up there from God, I understand now what it means, “Open out a way for the imprisoned splendor to escape.” For all of the good that can ever flow into anyone’s life is at this moment, stored up in their consciousness. And all that is necessary is for them to find a way to open out so that it can flow out from within them. And the way is, naturally, attaining some measure, even a grain, of this illumined consciousness.