Gratitude for Spiritual Teaching
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God.”3 Never forget that passage because it is one of the most important teachings in all Scripture: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” You can never seek that kingdom until you know what you are seeking, nor can you find it until you know where it is hidden. Give time to pondering the question: “What is the kingdom of God?” The Master revealed quite plainly where it is. He never said what it is, but he told us where it is—within you. So you do not have to go any place to find it. No trips to holy mountains are necessary—no trips to holy temples, no trips anywhere outside of your own inner sanctuary. Go into that inner sanctuary and pray in secret. There, in the silence, you will find it—within yourself. What the experience is after you have found it, the Master did not tell, but he did tell what the fruitage would be—physical health, immortal life, infinite abundance, peace on earth, good will to men. That will be the fruitage of it, but the thing itself, the kingdom of God, is the great gift for which our gratitude should be flowing continually. When an individual finds that kingdom, he never talks about it. There is no language that will describe it, but it can be imparted in meditation without language from teacher to student.
That is the method of our work in The Infinite Way. The meditation on the part of the teacher reveals some of the secrets of this inner kingdom to the consciousness of the student, through silence. It is not done by transmitting messages from one mind to another; the kingdom of heaven cannot be taken by the power of the mind. The things of God are foolishness with man, foolishness to the thinking mind. Who, by taking thought, can learn the spiritual things of life? Nobody. These are not and cannot be transmitted by words. If words could convey the experience, the mystics of the world would long since have put all that they have experienced into books and pamphlets, and we would be reading them and then floating on cloud nine, nineteen, twenty-nine, up to ninety-nine— all ready for number one hundred, and the transition itself.
Spiritual teaching cannot come through the body or through the mind. It can only
be transmitted from one Soul to another, and the language of Spirit is silence. Only in the deep, deep silence of an illumined Soul are the secrets transmitted to the Soul of the student who has prepared himself by dedication, not a dedication to the demonstration of things, but to the demonstration of God. When the teacher and the student are so pure in consciousness that neither one is seeking anything for himself, having no desires of an earthly nature, but seeking only to transmit God’s grace, then the meditation of a teacher or practitioner results in that receptivity which brings spiritual freedom and spiritual wisdom to the student.
This has always been the way of spiritual teaching. It was the way practiced in the Far East; it was the way in the Near East. It was the way the Master taught his disciples. It was the way Saul of Tarsus received illumination: He did not receive his light sitting with a human teacher of biblical history and Bible lore. It was when he was on the way to Damascus, on the way toward illumination, on the way toward revelation and inspiration, that he met the Christ and the Christ revealed Itself. So with us. When we have left behind earthly desires and earthly longings, when we have left behind a need for the peace that this world giveth and are ready for the peace that the kingdom of God can impart, then are we ready indeed for spiritual illumination.
Too many have been studying for too many years and missing the way because they have believed that spiritual illumination would improve their “things of this world” in some magical way. It does not always do that; in fact, it may temporarily have the opposite effect. Sometimes there comes a period when there is a great deal of deprivation of the things of this world. Saul of Tarsus, you remember, was deprived of his eyesight, blinded, and then, after his illumination, spent nine years in Arabia. The light had not been fully revealed; the fruitage had not appeared in its fullness. So it is often with us. Sometimes it is necessary that we, too, lose our earthly good before our spiritual good reveals itself. Then after that, the lost years of the locusts are restored.
It is not that that necessarily is the price which must be paid. It is only that very often it is the price that is demanded of us because of our inability to turn from the things of this world so that we can devote enough time to the things of “My kingdom.” If we voluntarily give the time and the effort necessary to the realization of the spiritual kingdom, we shall gradually evolve into it; but if we so occupy ourselves with the things of the world as to make the things of the Spirit secondary, then sometimes it requires a sharp lesson before we are able to move from the human world into the spiritual.
Do not be too concerned about your own demonstration. Do not feel that financial prosperity is necessarily the sign of your spiritual progress, because there are many wealthy people who have never even heard of spiritual things. Do not think for a moment that physical health is the natural proof of your spirituality, for there are large numbers of physically healthy people who never think of the word God except to use it profanely. Do not try to judge your spiritual development by the condition of your body because physical health is no measure of spirituality. Very often, very, very often, it is when you are in the deepest struggles with your problems that the light of grace breaks through. Sometimes, it is the very severity of those troubles that drives you deep enough so that you come into the awareness of God’s grace.
Try not to judge your spiritual progress by whether you have a Cadillac or a Ford, or any car at all. Try not to judge your spiritual progress by whether you happen to be healthy or wealthy today or tomorrow. Remember, the thief on the cross must have been making satisfactory spiritual progress even when he was crucified because that same night he was admitted into paradise. The woman taken in adultery must have been making real spiritual progress for instantly she was forgiven her sins and became a follower of the Master. Never doubt for a moment that if you walk through the valley of the shadow of death and there recognize God’s grace, that even then it will not be too late to step out into perfect health. Never feel for a moment that if you are seventy or eighty or ninety that it is too late to attain spiritual illumination for in the moment ye think not, the bridegroom cometh. In that moment, in that twinkling of an eye, all those years drop off your shoulders like pages dropping off a calendar.
Be not too concerned for these daily demonstrations of the world, but never forget that “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”4 In accord with the measure of spiritual development, ultimately those added things will appear in the form of harmony, because it is your divine right to experience health and abundance. If you do not immediately find yourself in possession of the desired temporal good, physical or financial, if the things of this world are not heaped upon you through your study, do not be too concerned, because that is not the goal of our work. The goal is, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.”5 Seek Him while He may be found. Seek Him while you are in the mood. Seek the kingdom of God and be assured of this, that despite your day-to-day experience, whether there be harmony today or discord tomorrow, an upset today and a little good the next week—regardless of that, you are on the way if you do not deviate from your basic principle, “I am seeking the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of material demonstration.”
The True Measure of Gratitude
This message must be lived. Whatever degree of light it produces in your life will cause those who are ready for it to discern it in you and come to you for some of that which you have. Then you can share pamphlets, books, tape recordings, or monthly Letters; you can impart whatever of it you know—but only to those who seek you out. You may try to give this teaching to your mother or father, to your child, to your sister or brother, to your husband or wife, or to some other relative; but it will not help them. As much as you would like to take your friends and family into heaven with you, it cannot be done. They cannot accept it until they are ready for it, so it is better to let them come to you, and then you share with them of the light that you have received.
The Infinite Way does not advertise, and yet the word of this message has gone around the world on its own power. In the ten years of The Infinite Way, there has never been an appeal for funds. Nobody has been asked for a contribution. Why? The Spirit of God which gave us this message has financed it, and it has all come through normal and natural ways—voluntary ways.
So it is with you. This message will support you and sustain you, physically, mentally, morally, and financially. You will not have to ask for money; you will not have to plead for it; you will not have to tell anyone that it is his duty to support you. No, the light which you are will do all of that for you and bless all who come into your sphere.
The Infinite Way is a healing message. This message brings healing to all those who are receptive and responsive to it, and since everyone is seeking healing, it must spread in proportion as you are able to be the light, and you are able to be that light in proportion to the amount of time and effort you give to communion. That is the measure of your gratitude.
ACROSS THE DESK
The world-wide acceptance and success of The Infinite Way has attracted the attention of some unscrupulous people who are attempting to exploit The Infinite Way or to use my name in order to obtain money fraudulently. Already some of our students have been misled by the false claims of these people. There seems to be no way of preventing these unprincipled people from preying upon the public except as individuals exercise discrimination and prudence. Religion is a prolific field for the unscrupulous because the law usually protects people who operate under its guise. But the law cannot protect you from the machinations of such individuals, nor can The Infinite Way: You either have spiritual discernment or human intelligence to guide you.
Since I myself have never at any time asked you for money, you may be sure that I also have never authorized anyone else to ask you for financial help for themselves or for their activities. Should anyone approach you with a request for funds or with any kind of a proposition to secure your support, monetary or otherwise, on the basis of their alleged association with me or with The Infinite Way, and should you be in doubt as to the proper course of action, you may cable me for information—Inway, Honolulu—and I will gladly and quickly inform you as to whether or not you are dealing with one of our students.
There are people travelling about claiming to be associated with me, or claiming that they are students close to me. Do not accept such claims without some knowledge of their authenticity. It is not difficult to recognize our true students or to learn who they are. Our students use only Infinite Way writings and recordings in their work. They do not beg or borrow. “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee,”6 may be your answer to requests for loans to strangers. “The ‘such as I have’ I give unto you gladly.” There is a legitimate activity of giving, sharing, and helping, but that giving, sharing, and helping must be governed by wisdom. Do not give or lend merely because someone claims to be a patient or a student of The Infinite Way or because someone claims some special association with The Infinite Way or with me. That is flimsy ground for lending or giving.
This admonition is merely a call to exercise wisdom in giving—spiritual wisdom —and is in no sense intended to lessen your giving or sharing since the principles of The Infinite Way are not demonstrated by withholding, miserliness, or a lack of free giving. In fact, true giving is a very important principle of The Infinite Way.
I feel that it is the function of students of The Infinite Way to support its activity. Furthermore, as members of a community it is their responsibility to support the local activities of that community, such as the YMGA, YWCA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Community Fund, the Red Cross, and any other worthy activity. Students who are members of fraternal orders should also support the benevolent activities of these orders, and certainly all of us should be liberal in helping to provide educational opportunities and summer camp activities for children. Beyond that, any purely personal appeals for help must be prayerfully considered and accepted or rejected on their merits and not because of claims to some relationship with The Infinite Way.
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In the correspondence which comes from every part of the globe and from people at all levels of consciousness, the subject of death, that is, the passing of loved ones from visible sight, is mentioned almost every day. To most of us comes the experience of witnessing the passing of loved ones—parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents; loved figures of the stage and artistic world who have brought joy and beauty into our lives; and public figures who have for years inspired us by the richness of their lives and by their service to mankind.
In my own experience, I have had almost none of this sadness. My grandparents had left this plane before I knew them; only one aunt and my parents left during my adult years. Otherwise, my life has been strange in that all those with whom I grew up, as well as all the men and women of my twenty-two years in the business world, dropped out of my life when I became a spiritual healer and was listed as a Christian Science practitioner. My world had been a very human world, but it fell away from me as I entered spiritual consciousness. It may be said that I died to my past—to my material life —and was reborn into a spiritual way of life.
For sixteen years, my life was centered in Christian Science. I do not remember anyone who entered my awareness during those years except Christian Scientists, and only the very active ones at that—readers, practitioners, teachers, lecturers, officers of branch churches and of The Mother Church. These men and women who had consecrated their lives to God were my associates and made up my life-experience for sixteen joyous years. They were wonderful companions on the spiritual way.
When The Infinite Way was born in me, I died again to my past and was reborn in another level of spiritual consciousness. My Christian Science associates dropped away from me as my former business associates had—without a physical dying, just a passing from my visible world. Even my relatives did not die physically, but passed from my view as I ascended in spiritual life. I was born again; and in this new life, I companion with those of The Infinite Way and those on the spiritual path.
Now note this: Into my new life have now appeared some of those associates of my former business life and some of those of my Christian Science life. For me, this answers the great question: Will we meet those who have passed from our sight?
Yes, we shall meet those of our own household—those who grow with us and catch up to us, or those who have gone ahead and with whom we catch up. Those intended to be our eternal companions are never lost to our spiritual awareness. Even if there is an interval of separation, we catch up to them or they catch up to us.
To saint as well as to sinner, there comes a time of separation from the past. This may come as it does to many of us in what the world terms death, or it may come as it has to me, by a spiritual progression out of past lives but without a dying out of them. Whichever way it comes, the important thing to remember is this: When you die out of “this world,” you will leave all your material possessions at the probate court which is always waiting at the exit to collect your belongings! The only property you can take with you is the degree of enlightened consciousness which you attain here. No one can strip you of that illumined consciousness, so spend your time here endeavouring to attain all the illumination you can.
If you die to your past through spiritual progression, you will have but few material possessions beyond those necessary to your immediate needs because you will have dedicated your earnings to spiritual purposes. Even though you will always be abundantly supplied while on the path of spiritual illumination, you will not burden yourself with too many temporal cares along the way.
Lay up for yourselves rich treasures—spiritual treasures of the Soul. Bring to each “death,” whichever way it takes place, not too much baggage to shed, but rich treasures of illumination, dedication, and ordination. Each of us prospers spiritually in proportion to his devotion to God and the word of God.
The wise virgins were those who kept oil in their own lamps. Wise students of The Infinite Way are not concerned with whether their friends or relatives are going along the path with them: They are prepared to leave father, mother, sister, brother, husband, wife, friends, and business associates and to go on alone with God. We keep ourselves filled with spiritual truth; we meditate; we companion with those on our path; we unfold according to a divine plan, and when friends pass from our sight we recognize that they are but attaining another level of consciousness. When we reach a plateau from which we take off for higher and deeper spiritual experiences, we leave our old world with no regrets, but rather with eagerness to view the grand horizon.
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This is the season of Thanksgiving. An entire day devoted to the giving of thanks provides students of The Infinite Way with an unusual opportunity to look behind the visible scene and witness the many special reasons for thanksgiving this year. Even though we, as aspirants on the spiritual path, have learned the true nature of gratitude and have learned to be grateful every day in the year, nevertheless, it must be apparent to all of us that it is only through the grace of God that men in a materialistic era have set aside one special day of the year to be dedicated wholly to thanksgiving. I joy in that.
In reviewing the year, I note that it has been brought to human attention, and recognized and acknowledged on a wider scale than ever before, that material or physical force will not solve international problems. Treaties and promises continue to be broken to such an extent that few people and even few nations trust the word of another, or even their own word except when it suits the purpose of the moment. Strange as it may seem, that in itself is good reason for thanksgiving because from it we shall learn to “cease . . . from man, whose breath is in his nostrils.”7 Eventually, all will be compelled to place complete reliance on the Invisible which is truly the Infinite Omnipotent, omnipresent. When faith reaches that point, the world will be saved.
Throughout the world, there is evidence of man’s inhumanity to man— intolerance, prejudice, and bigotry. That, too, is cause for thanksgiving because a growing spiritual awareness is evident as these particular evils are exposed to the world instead of being covered up, hidden, and secretly practiced. Now we must pray with a greater depth of understanding that the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf be unstopped so that the vision of the great Master may be revealed: “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”8
In The Infinite Way we have a truly great reason for thanksgiving: We have learned and demonstrated that we need not reform people, or change them humanly, but rather our work is to destroy material sense and thus free mankind from its only bondage. We have discovered the secret of the destruction of material sense, and my special reason for giving thanks is that some students are uniting with me around the globe and around the clock to realize, with signs following, that material sense is but “the arm of flesh.” At present, this group has the secret which all our students soon will understand and prove.
Above all, I can have no greater reason for thanksgiving than to know that Infinite Way students will give a day to spiritual communion, prayer, and thanksgiving and will dedicate this day every year to the lessening of material sense through the realization of grace.
8Matthew 23 :9