Tape 334  Side 2


Following a program such as was just presented to us in the previous hour, we call practicing the presence. It means literally what Brother Lawrence meant many years ago when he called it practicing the presence of God. It means actually living from morning to night and from night to morning in an awareness of the fact that there is a God; and that God is closer than breathing and nearer than hands and feet; and that God is omnipotence and omnipresence and omniscience. And by doing this, we spiritualize our thought; we spiritualize our consciousness because human life compels us to face every minute of the day and night the belief of two powers.

And of course while we don’t mind the good powers that are operating, we don’t like the bad powers. But human experience has made us have more faith in the bad powers than in the good. We are more expectant of evil than we are of good and we are more shocked at the good than we are at the evil.

Now, this will always be in the experience of an individual who is not filling themselves full of God, keeping themselves full of God, of the awareness of God, the remembrance of God. As a matter of fact, the average human cannot be blamed if he doesn’t believe there is a God, or if he merely believes it as a possibility but not an actual experience.

Now, as we contemplate God, as we remind ourselves by acknowledging Him in all our ways, by keeping the mind stayed on God, we are developing this more spiritual nature or consciousness. And then there follows an experience that we call meditation. Now, of course the book Practicing the Presence is the preparation for the book The Art of Meditation because students find it almost impossible to meditate unless they have a background of practicing the presence as an experience.

In other words, the human mind itself, due to our human ways of living, is not really conducive to an inner peace, an inner quiet, an inner settling down without thought. Therefore, there has to be a preparation for that. And that preparation comes about as we learn to acknowledge Him in all our ways, as we continue to abide in the consciousness of God’s presence. It leads to an inner stillness, and then we’re ready for meditation.

Now, there are two steps in meditation. The first one is called contemplative meditation and this is the experience of meditation when we are contemplating God and the mysteries of God, or the kingdom of God. Now in the meditation, you never bring a problem and you never bring a person. When you meditate, you sit down only for the purpose of a God experience. And therefore to prepare for that, you will find it necessary to have a period of contemplation.

In the beginning, the contemplative meditation may take thirteen out of your fifteen minutes, and you may have only two minutes left for the second part of your meditation. As you continue, the period of contemplative meditation lessens and the period of actual meditation increases.

And again the reason is this, when you sit down to contemplate God, you may still be having difficulty in quieting the mind, in having it receptive and responsive to the presence and activity of God. And therefore, you need the longer period for contemplation. And that can follow something along this line—you will always start your contemplative meditation with the word God. This is so that you anchor yourself in that word. And remember, the entire purpose of this meditation is to bring God into your experience.

Now, how shall we do this? Well, let us contemplate God:

God. God. God. Ah yes, the first thing that comes to my thought is that God is here where I am. God is not a God afar off. God is not up in heaven. God is not out there in a holy mountain. God is not in the temple in Jerusalem or any other city. In fact the kingdom of God is neither lo here, nor lo there, but the kingdom of God is within me. Then where I am, God is. Where God is, I am. That is why then, the power of God is right here where I am, and it does not have to be sought. It does not have to be…uh, wait a minute…yes it just said…I just remembered the Master saying…Take no thought what you shall eat or what you shall drink, wherewithal you shall be clothed. Your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of these things.

        And so, as I sit here contemplating God and realizing God’s nearness to me, closer than breathing, I remember that I need not tell God my need. I need not tell God what I want, and if I would bless another, I do not have to tell God the name of my relative or friend or enemy or my patient or of my student. God already knows my need. As I sit here, contemplating God, this God that is so close to me already knows my need.

This is what it means God is omniscience, all knowledge, all wisdom. God already knows my needs. I do not have to advise God; I do not have to ask or plead; I do not have to seek from God. God in the midst of me, the God that is already closer to me than my breathing, already knows my need. How comforting that is to remember that God already knows my need. As a matter of fact, I may not know it myself. I do not know how to go out or how to come in.  I do not know how to pray or what to pray for. My wisdom isn’t that great that I should know what’s good for me. But I do know this, that my Father within me already knoweth my need. And I can relax now from being concerned about what form my demonstration should take, or when it should take place, or where, or through whom. No longer do I have to take thought about my demonstration for my heavenly Father within me already knoweth my need. What a weight that takes off my shoulder.

Yes, but then the statement goes on, …and it is His good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Oh, what a statement to contemplate. I don’t have to earn it or deserve it or be worthy of it. It is my Father’s good pleasure to give me the kingdom without any strings being tied to it. There are no sins of the past that would change God’s pleasure in giving me the kingdom. There is no fear that I might sin in the future that will hold God’s hand back from blessing me. It is God’s good pleasure to give me the kingdom.