You see, all through this period of development, it would seem as if we as individuals, were really becoming more spiritual, more honest, more moral, more happy. And for a long while, it is that sense that we ourselves are something better than our neighbors. It is only when in some deep problem, that God reveals Itself to us as our Self, that there is no longer a self to be proud of anything, or to take pride in its accomplishments, or to glory over this, that, or the other thing. Because that which is now our God Self is the only Self—living in Its own expression.
And that which was our humanhood is extinct. There is no more personal pride, and you can tell that. You can tell it the moment it comes to you. You no longer have judgment, or criticism, or condemnation for the other man’s sins or faults, because you understand them. And your prayer always is that their eyes be opened, that they may be awakened. And above all things that they may be forgiven for their ignorance, not punished, nor held in punishment to their own offenses.
You see, this probably is a continuation of this morning, in which our whole lesson was a realization of the nature of God. If you study the New Testament, and I recommended this morning that all students have a red-letter New Testament, that is a New Testament with all of the words of the Master printed in red ink, so that you can have it handy in your pocket or purse, open it, and just turn to the red printing, and get so familiar with the Master’s words that you will rise above your natural Hebrew leanings or teachings, because human nature is that old Mosaic nature that has a God that rewards and punishes. And it is always promising vengeance to our enemies. It is always promising annihilation to those who do wrong.
And we ourselves get to the point where we actually gloat in that, and rejoice that some day all the evil people will be burning up in hell. Of course they’re not going to be there at all. They’re all going to be forgiven. Every one of them is going to be forgiven, because that is the nature of God, to forgive seventy times seven … no, that’s our nature. We’re told to forgive seventy times seven. I guess with God it must be seventy times seventy times seven.
And we are never going to be held in condemnation for our sins. Not even the woman taken in adultery or the thief on the cross, or any other of these malefactors that are found in scripture or in modern life. Not one of us is going to be held in condemnation or punishment for our sins. But on the contrary, if we ever come to understand the God of love, we will find forgiveness every single day. Even though we sin 364 days a year, we will still find forgiveness on the 365th, for this reason: that it is a part of our human nature to sin. It is a part of our human nature to be envious, jealous, malicious in one degree or another. It is a part of normal human nature to love our own children, or our own families, or our own nation to the exclusion of others. It is even in the nature of human nature, religious human nature, to permit ministers to pray that we be saved while our enemies be killed. Do you not see that that takes no cognizance of God who is love, whose teaching is that we forgive, that we pray for those who despitefully use us. Not pray for their death … not pray for their extinction or annihilation, pray that they be forgiven even as we want to be forgiven.
Even the Lord’s Prayer is a constant reminder: Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. In proportion as, and never forget that we can’t be forgiven except in proportion to our forgiveness. So, do you not see that the world has never really had a God at all, when it can live that kind of a life that believes in condemnation, in hell, in unforgiveness, in vengeance, in annihilation? Why you know you might as well take the Hebrew God, or go back further, and start worshiping the sun, moon, and stars, because it gives us crops, and then learn to sacrifice to it when it doesn’t give us crops, so that it will next season.
The difference between the old pagan gods, and the Hebrew God … which is the God of the Christian churches; there’s very little difference in them, very little. But there is one true God, whom to know aright is life eternal, and that one true God is to be found in the life work of Christ Jesus, and revealed through John. When you come into that understanding of God, so that you no longer have to influence God in your behalf, no longer have to fear God’s wrath, never believe that God punishes, and never look to God for reward, then you will be coming into some measure of realization of the God of love, the God of life, the God of immortality.
Now that leads us into this next article, which is on the monastic life, and again I must caution; don’t take all these statements at their literal value, but read between the lines if you would see what I’m talking about. Because in this article love is brought out, although you won’t recognize it when you hear it. But this very love, which is God, that I’m talking about, that learns not to love my children, or my nation, or my religion, but is such an impersonal love that it makes no difference who or what it is—love embraces it. And so this is, The Monastic Life.
“Cut off from all emotional attachments, knowing no deep devotion to any person or thing, one may live the monastic life while still in the world, but not of it. The monastic life is often lived with a deep concern for mankind, with a desire to uplift, serve, and sometimes save the world. Yet there is no deep love for any individual, nor is there a need for mother, brother, wife, or friend.
Many who give up the world to abide in monastery or convent, find that complete separation from loved ones or from being loved, is beyond their powers. There has not come to them the necessary insulation from worldly love and care. The monastic life, even when lived in the world, is completely insulated, so that there is no emotional interchange in human relationships. In this spiritual insulation, one lives a devotion to human service and spiritual regeneration, but without involvement in personal emotions.
It is this spiritual insulation which makes possible the life of aloneness lived by mystics. Yes, the qualities emanating from the mystic’s aloneness is the very blessing to all who touch or are touched by the mystic’s life. Emotion would be a drain, depleting the spiritual power inherent in the true monastic life. It is doubtful if the monastic life can be cultivated. It is a gift of God, bestowed on those ready for the experience, and always for a specific purpose.
Those possessing it may have remaining hidden longings for closer companionship with those of his family or religious circle, even sometimes a deep desire for home. But he has not the capacity to enjoy these or to remain in them. These human desires are often leaks in the insulation, or a leftover from last human experience on earth. It is this inability to fuse that makes the mystic difficult to live or work with. Always the spiritual light serves as a barrier to emotional reaction, and for the sake of his friends and relatives, it would be better for those living the monastic life to separate themselves from personal contact.
Then the impersonal life of love is lived without strain or drain upon one’s resources of spiritual power. Only the emotions strain or drain the spiritual capacity, and these are absent when the monastic life is lived apart from family experience. Since all those called to the monastic life are not drawn to the monastery or convent, it is wise to thus withdraw from too close contact with ordinary human living.
Many, drawn to the monastic life, retain for many years, the longing for one: one companion, friend, parent, wife, or husband. Just some one with whom to share every unfolding inner experience and outer fruitage. Eventually, even this must dissolve in the complete withdrawal into God. A dark night of the soul, which may last many weeks, brings the final release from all attachment, and the monastic life is fully lived in God. Now, all human associations and relationships are as impersonal, yet as warm and tender, as that of God to man.”
I could give you a very good illustration of that that will not make it seem quite as cold and distant as it sounds. In the early days of metaphysical healing, it wasn’t an unusual thing for a practitioner to take a patient into their home for the purpose of healing them. And very often practitioners did that very thing. And of course the amount of healings that took place were not many, because the personal sense enters the picture, so that the entire situation cannot be brought under control.
Whereas, if the practitioner remains in their own home and allows the patient to live their own life, then when a call comes for help, the practitioner instead of responding with emotion, pity, sympathy, human help, is enabled to retire into a quiet spot in their home and get inside of God, and there feel the actual presence and power of God, without any mixture of human emotion, and healing takes place.