Ah yes, but then there have been others who were tempted by abundance, and as soon as that abundance came, you could watch the ways in which it was being used. And then the first thing you knew, you knew that ego was in, because well, you just knew it, that’s all. Now with others there is the temptation to have a name, a title, a fame, and that’s a dangerous one. With others, and in our modern life it’s probably the most prevalent one of all, is the sex temptation, because it’s all over the land, it’s all over the world, and I guess it’s as hard to miss as beauty in Hawaii. But many have succumbed to it, and when they do, that ends that part of the program.
Now all of those temptations come to those who have partial illumination, more a degree of illumination, more than they come to ordinary humans. Any temptation that any human has ever had is multiplied many, many times, as soon as they have some degree of spiritual illumination. Then, when they get past that and have a greater illumination, there remains then only one temptation, and that temptation is personal ego, conceit. And it’s a subtle one, because it doesn’t come as an evil. There’s no temptation after a sufficient degree of illumination. There’s no temptation to indulge evil in any way, shape, manner, or form…I mean the recognized evil.
But the one temptation that is left, ego, comes in a subtle form, sometimes as subtle as believing that my prayers are very effective, or that my healing power is very good, or I this, or I that. I, the word I, is the ego, that very often comes in the form of good. Not evil, but good, and it trips individuals over and over and over again. Now let us see how this operates in our experience.
I have had a series of letters. Not rightly speaking, a series. I mean I have had a multiplicity of letters having to do with words like praise, thanksgiving, gratitude, love, appreciation, recognition. And some students do not see where or what part these play in our experience. They have an idea that spiritual illumination does away with these, because now there’s nothing left to praise, since we know what God is, and God isn’t personal, and so forth and so on. Now let us be very clear on this point. God does not need our praise, nor our thanksgiving, nor our gratitude or recognition or reward.
As a matter of fact, there is no God actually, that cares whether or not any individual pays homage to God. Not any more than the sunshine wants gratitude for shining, or the rain wants gratitude for growing crops, or the shade wants gratitude for protecting us from heat. No. No, God, so far as God is concerned, God has no need of any of this form of what we call worship or adoration, praise, and thanksgiving.
I’m sure you’ve all read this new book of Don Blanding’s, and if you could sum it up, I think…If you’ve thought of it at all, probably you’ve come to this same conclusion, that the book is nothing more or less than a book of hymns, just hymns of praise and of gratitude and of love, adoration and worship of Hawaii: its beauties, its gentleness, its people. Oh, there’s a recognition that in and of it there are also some politicians and money changers, but see how quickly he glosses over that and says, “Yes, they’re there, but what has that to do with us?” And then reverts immediately to the sunshine or the moonshine, and the stars, and the odor and perfume of the flowers, and the beauty, and the glories of Tutu, and so forth and so on.
And so it really is a book, which is a hymn of praise. Now I ask you this. Is Hawaii in any way touched by it? Does the Pali mountain care about it? Or the flowers? Or the rivers? Or the ocean? Not a bit. They’re left entirely cold by all of that. Why? They’re not even aware of the book, or of the praises, or of the gratitude, or of the love, or of the appreciation. Because like our nightingale of the East, Hawaii just sings its song and says, what you do with it, or how you receive it or appreciate it is your demonstration. I’m still going on singing my song of beauty, joy, and so forth.
But what has it done to the man, Don Blanding? Ahhh, that’s quite a different thing. Even from a practical standpoint, it’s made him nationally known. Even from a practical standpoint, it’s made him, island wise, known and loved and respected, and so forth. That’s what it’s done for him. Do you see that? That’s our relationship to God. Our hymns of praise and gratitude do nothing at all for God, but oh what they do to us, for us, and within us. Ah, even in a practical way, you’ll soon find that love, appreciation, gratitude, joy, receptivity, responsiveness to life, truth, and love, to God, changes the whole physical body as well as the mind of man. It is a whole chemistry action in the mind and body.
So it is that one who certainly was wise in his day, our good friend over here, David…
Oh Lord our God, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth. Who has set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies, that thou mightiest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained, what is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him. For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands. Thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the path of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent in thy name in all the earth.
Can you imagine what was happening in the heart, and soul, and spirit, and mind, and body of that man as he was singing such praises, such…Just think, the heavens, he was speaking, and the earth, and the oxen, and realizing that God gave man dominion over all of this. Think of that relationship now that exists between David and God. And where does it exist? In David.
As far as God’s concerned, it was there yesterday and the day before yesterday, and it was available for all of those stupid sinners, thieves, money changers in the temple. Just think. It was all there for them too. But could they avail themselves of it? No. No, only a man who can look up and see that the skies are something more than a color up in the air; only a man who can look at the sea, and see the fishes and the coral and the beauties under the sea; only a man who can look out and see, not just a garden, but what does a garden signify, and how did it get there to begin with? And can see the glory of God in the green grass. Do you see that? That is what transforms the soul of an individual from an animal to a man, and then a little lower than the angels, and then a little bit later, perhaps right up there with the angels too.
I will praise thee, this is Psalm 9, I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart. David wasn’t wasting energy. He wasn’t wasting talent. He wasn’t being emotional. This is one of he wise men of his day. I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart. I will show forth all thy marvelous works. Do you see that humility in there? I will show them forth, but what are they? Thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee. Not in my powers. Not in my beauty. Not in my strength. Not in my spirituality. I will be glad and rejoice in thee.
I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High, when mine enemies are turned back. They shall fall and perish at thy presence. For thou hast maintained my right and my cause. Thou “satest” in the throne, judging right. Thou hast rebuked the heathen. Thou hast destroyed the wicked. Thou hast put out their name forever and ever. O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end, and thou has destroyed cities, but the Lord shall endure forever. He hath prepared his throne for judgment, and He shall judge the world in righteousness. He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.